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Students, Teachers, and Parents see the value of Young AmeriTowne, a hands-on lesson in free enterprise experienced by more than 34,000 young people every year. Students gain valuable life lessons while having so much fun, they scarcely know they are learning! My recent visit to the UPS Parcel Service shop served as a validation that this learning is made possible by the wonderful community support of partners like UPS.
I met 10-year-old Brian* dressed in a brown UPS hat and uniform. He was in the Parcel shop and had just returned from his morning break. Brian, who is a fifth-grader at Pine Ridge Elementary in Aurora, was so excited about his day to visit AmeriTowne that it was really hard to fall asleep last night. I asked him what he was most excited about, and he replied, “I was most excited about everything, and I was just trying to imagine what the day would be like!”
Brian’s job for the day was to serve as the Parcel Shop Accountant. Although this wasn’t his top choice for a job—Brian had hoped to be an Accountant in the Parts and Service Shop—he figured that being right next door to his top choice would be alright. “Plus,” he added, “It’s pretty cool to show the citizens how to do mail.”
As an Accountant, Brian had one of the most difficult jobs in Towne. He had to pay all the shop’s expenses, including employee paychecks, rent, medical insurance, advertising fees, and utilities. Brian also had to keep track of all income. There was a steady stream of customers flowing into the shop to purchase stamps or colorful pokey pets.
When I asked Brian about the hardest thing he had done all day, I expected him to talk about his Accounting role. Instead, he talked about the time he spent on his break. “It was really hard to make decisions about what to buy,” he said. “I tried to balance things I really wanted, like this disappearing magic ink…” Brian held up the bottle of ink so I could see it, then he continued. “And I also tried to buy things that are useful. Like I wanted to buy some toys for my twin baby sisters.”
When you have a limited source of income, as most everyone does, this is a very real dilemma. And it occurred to me, that for Brian, this was a very real dilemma, too. Even though he was working a pretend job in a pretend Towne, the lesson he learned was not pretend at all.
And that’s where UPS comes in. For nearly two decades, the support of UPS has made this type of hands-on learning possible for Brian and for thousands of students just like him. Thank you, UPS, for your continued support!
*Brian’s name has been changed as he is a minor.