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Many students attending MSU Denver to study education are given the opportunity to receive credit hours by taking one day to visit our facility, while fifth grade students are on a field trip to visit our site. Representatives of the Young Americans Center visit the college campus to inform the aspiring educators of our program and the thousands of children it reaches annually.
Several of Metro State’s students graduate as planned, and eventually are hired on as educators, responsible for their own fourth and fifth grade classrooms. At that point, since they have become acquainted with the Young AmeriTowne curriculum, many of these “volunteers-turned-teachers” seize the opportunity to take their own classrooms through our program. In September and October of 2014, there are over thirty volunteers from MSU’s Education Department who are scheduled to be a part of Young AmeriTowne.
One such to-be educator from Metro State is Kaitlin Mihane, who spent her day at Young AmeriTowne on September 16th. She is currently attending Metro State University of Denver for K-12 Education, taking core classes in mentoring, methods, and gen-ed. She raved about the day in AmeriTowne: “I wish I had this when I was little. It helps [students] learn skills they have to know.”
The skills Kaitlin is referring to are concepts involving money management and business operation. She discusses a challenge for modern day teachers as having to strike a balance between “gear[ing] the curriculum toward testing, while still making the material meaningful.” Kaitlin believes a teacher can have a very strong impact on a student, for better or for worse. “A teacher has the power to make a kid’s [educational] experience be meaningful, and [the opportunity to] connect to their students’ lives.” She discusses a teacher she had in high school who changed her entire perspective. “She pushed me… She taught me that you can’t take anything at face value in all subjects. There is always something more to it.”
Creative and provocative lessons in the Young AmeriTowne curriculum are aligned to Colorado Content Standards, so many of the hours dedicated to preparing the field trip is time the teachers would have to dedicate to meet content requirements anyhow. These lessons can be taught over the course of two to six weeks. Some of the concepts delivered in the classroom include philanthropy, interviewing skills, check writing, free enterprise, decision making, advertising, and investing.
We would like to thank all of the collegiate volunteers that have attended from Metro State University of Denver over the years, and their teachers, who have been long-time supporters of Young Americans Center.