Junior Achievement program on budget chopping block


by By MICHELLE BOUDIN / NewsChannel 36 E-mail Michelle:

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Posted on August 4, 2009 at 6:12 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 1 at 6:47 PM


Junior Achievement program faces money crisis

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Maybe we wouldn't be in such bad money shape if only we'd all had the chance as kids to go through the Junior Achievement program.

It helps students figure out how to handle their money. But budget cuts mean JA is now on the chopping block.

On Tuesday, NewsChannel 36 met several students participating in JA's Biz Town, where children get to run their own shops.

Fourth-grader Becca Esterline is CEO of a pet shot.

"I like being the boss and telling people they're doing good job and stuff," she said.

Thirteen-year-old Mayor Randy Stitt runs City Hall.

"I help all the citizens with all the problems they have," he said.

For seven years, Biz Town has been JA's crowning achievement.

"It really helps you get prepared for your own life," Stitt said.

"Dealing with money is pretty grownup stuff," Esterline said.

And so is what the program is facing -- losing all funding from Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and JA Biz Town shutting down.

This year's mayor is especially upset because this is his third summer back at camp.

"It's really sad for me because this is a very good program," Stitt said.

"We probably wouldn't be in quite as devastating a downturn if we'd learned some of those lessons a little earlier," said Junior Achievement President Phillip Volponi.

Lessons a lot of grownups are trying really hard to figure out these days.

Esterline's parents have already passed on a few lessons to her: "They tell me to don't waste my money."

Junior Achievement needs your help. The funding cuts right now will impact 10,500 local students.

If you want to help Junior Achievement, it only takes $50 to sponsor a child.

-$136 will sponsor one classroom kit. -$800 sponsors a classroom. -$2,500 sponsors an entire grade. -$7,500 sponsors an entire school.

To learn more about what they do, visit .