A Publication of WTVP

I’ve heard it said that the most difficult part of reading a book is simply starting it. The same applies to having financial conversations with your kids, or your spouse for that matter. You need an anchor from which to work—something that spurs thought and dialog.

Consider this anchor: Junior Achievement Money Minutes, which is currently airing on WMBD-TV and FOX. Yours truly has written and hosted a half-dozen Money Minutes so far, and more are in production. WMBD-TV and FOX believe in the concept so heartily that they have made Money Minutes public service announcements. You can view them all by clicking the Money Minutes link at

Even if you disagree with what you hear and end up doing something differently, the operative word is doing. Unless you are quite intentional about starting and maintaining dialogue with your spouse on how to run the family finances and how to convey financial knowledge to your kids, it won’t happen.

Financial literacy isn’t required at school. And even if it was, you can’t assume that something as critical as your kids learning how to manage a buck will just happen. The adage “practice what you preach” is certainly true between spouses. Model financial acumen to your kids and include them in financial transactions.

Junior Achievement (JA) doesn’t reach kids without the adult—JA starts with the adult. In fact, adults from our community brought JA into more than 615 classrooms in central Illinois last school year. Junior Achievement reached over 13,000 K-12 students last year with an experience centered on financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.

It wasn’t the schoolteacher that led the JA sessions—it was a citizen from our community. The “real” schoolteacher is always present in the classroom when the JA Classroom Consultant (the in-class volunteer) leads the students through the Junior Achievement curriculum kit.

Classroom Consultants come from all walks of life. Most are part- or full-time business professionals. But college students, retirees and homemakers also comprise a vital part of the Classroom Consultant core.

The “real” schoolteacher isn’t allowed to teach Junior Achievement without the Consultant, because the relational bond that forms between a student and someone “from the outside” is too vital. The student becomes inspired because the Classroom Consultant personifies an answer to every student’s question: “Why do I gotta learn
this stuff?”

At some point in the Junior Achievement classroom experience, the student thinks, “What I see in front of me (the JA Classroom Consultant) is what I want to be.” That “want” might be career-related, or it could be a desire to mirror a part of the consultant’s demeanor. Their presence. Their way.

That sounds relevant to our youth, doesn’t it? However, the Classroom Consultants would argue that they actually receive the biggest benefit.

Junior Achievement has grown 255 percent in the classroom since 2004, and the secret is “what’s in it” for the adult—the Classroom Consultant.

Would you like to become one?

In just 45 minutes, JA staff equips you to enter a central Illinois classroom. You become confident, not only on the materials which are planned down to the minute, but also on how to relate well to the grade level in which you choose to present the Junior Achievement experience. Simply call the JA office at 682-1800 and reserve a spot for our next session at the Junior Achievement office in Peoria Heights. iBi