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JA Southern Alberta introduces new digital campus to help kids during COVID-19 pandemic

Junior Achievement Southern Alberta offers new digital campus
WATCH: Amid the financial uncertainty brought on by the COVID-19 global pandemic, Junior Achievement Southern Alberta is offering free, online programming that teaches kids basic economics, personal finance and career planning for the future.

With COVID-19 creating uncertainty around many families’ finances, a new digital campus introduced by Junior Achievement Southern Alberta is hoping the help kids acquire the skills needed make sound economic decisions in their future.

“If there’s anything we’ve learned these last couple of months is that this generation is going to need to have the resilient skills that Junior Achievement is teaching, as well as the financial literacy and the basic economic education as well,” JA Southern Alberta CEO Melissa From said.

“As a Calgary-based businessperson, I have seen first-hand the impact that the economic downturn coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the business community in southern Alberta, and our entire province,” added board chair Tracy Johnson in a press release.

“As someone who sees every day how valuable strong financial and economic literacy skills are in young professionals, I am pleased that our organization can offer such supports to prepare students to succeed in their future careers.”

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READ MORE: COVID-19: Alberta schools to stay closed for rest of academic year; province eyeing early summer start

The new digital campus will provide online self-directed, as well as teach-led programming for kids in Grades 3 through to 12.

“There’s a suite of graduated programming, so when you start in Grade 3, you really learn the basics of economics and personal finance, a little bit about business but in a very age appropriate way,” explained From.

Programs for older children will also include career planning.

“All the way up to Grade 11 and 12, when they’re starting to make personal finance decisions about leaving home and what’s it going to look like to rent an apartment and does it make sense to buy a house and should I have a car or a bus pass and all those kinds of things that are real-life scenarios that kids are going to face.”

READ MORE: COVID-19: Alberta schools to stay closed for rest of academic year; province eyeing early summer start

From added that resources and programming will also allow parents to “take control and be in the driver’s seat” of their child’s financial education.

“They can be at the table with their kids while they do the program, maybe do it with them, have some conversations that follow up the Junior Achievement programs about the financial situation their family’s in and the decisions they’re making and how they’re navigating through these times as well,” said From.

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The programs come at no cost to users and From said they are “strongly aligned” with Alberta’s curriculum and learner outcomes for each grade.

Additional resources offered through the digital campus include volunteer training and classroom resources for educators.