Imagine elementary school children operating banks, managing restaurants, writing checks and voting for mayor. Kelley Indianapolis’ Young Alumni Council (YAC), in partnership with Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, made this a reality for Indianapolis-area youth through a simulation called Biztown.
For one-half day in November, YAC members worked directly with small groups of students from Newby Memorial Elementary School. The grade schoolers learned what it takes to operate a successful business, including how to manage staff and acquire funding. The volunteer opportunity was spearheaded by YAC member Lucas Wolf, who also volunteers at Junior Achievement.
Throughout the simulation, the Kelley mentors assisted students in managing their own checking accounts, making purchases and considering philanthropic contributions. They even practiced the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, such as voting.
“I was inspired by the kids. They took this exercise very seriously and worked really hard to be successful,” said YAC member Lauren Russel.
The program gave elementary students the opportunity to work with business professionals and to apply the economic concepts they learned in school.
“I loved seeing our Kelley alums walk through business practices with the fifth graders. The real-world insight that they were able to provide was invaluable,” said Kelly Smith, assistant director for alumni planning and special events. “One student told me that he wished he could go to BizTown every day. The YAC continues to amaze me with their commitment to community outreach and the impact that they are able to make.”
Junior Achievement is a nonprofit organization created to educate students about work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. In addition to Wolf and Russel, Kelley alumni who participated included Charles Marr, TJ Cunningham, Kristen West, Marcus May and Jesse Kilgore.