Starting Strong: Armstrong students teach children financial responsibility

At Armstrong, we strive to create an environment where students can thrive academically while growing into civic-minded community leaders.

One organization which personifies this mission is Circle K International of Armstrong, the collegiate branch of Kiwanis International. In October, Circle K took Armstrong's mission one step further by partnering with Junior Achievement at White Bluff Elementary School in Savannah.

“Junior Achievement is a non-profit organization designed to teach K-12 students the value of entrepreneurship, financial planning and more,” said Circle K president and sophomore biology major Rebekah Robinson.

Robinson, along with six other Circle K members, began visiting White Bluff Elementary in October. Each volunteer was assigned to a teacher, and taught a 30-45 minute class once a week for five weeks.

“We're trying to educate them about making financial decisions so they can start thinking about it early on, before it really matters,” said Robinson.

Robinson worked with a class of first graders and thoroughly enjoyed the impact she made. She taught her students about wants versus needs, what money is for and how you need a job to make money.

“It's great to get to know the kids and see how excited they are to learn,” she said. “They are always so sweet and so excited to see what we're going to do every week.”

Another component to Junior Achievement is teaching children about community service. Robinson's students followed the lives of cartoon characters who had fun doing various community service projects.

“The characters show the students that they can do it too,” she said.

According to Armstrong's assistant vice president of development and Circle K staff advisor Julie Gerbsch, Junior Achievement is just as beneficial to Armstrong students as it is for the students at White Bluff Elementary.

“Armstrong students learn just as much from the Junior Achievement experience as the younger students they teach, although their learning is more about developing their own organizational and time management skills -- and communication style too,” said Gerbsch. “Local school students benefit from seeing our Armstrong student role models volunteering as Junior Achievement instructors, while working hard to complete their own studies toward their professional goals and dreams.”

For Robinson, a program like Junior Achievement is critical for both Armstrong and the students they reach. It not only teaches young students financial literacy, but it also empowers them to become the best versions of themselves through education, hard work and service to their community, something exemplified every week by Circle K volunteers.

“These kids are going to one day make the decisions that influence our economy and our country,” said Robinson. “We're just giving them a good head start.”