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Video: Running mini-Memphis for a day, fifth-graders say adulting is hard (and fun)

Students from Winridge Elementary School participate in JA BizTown, an experiential field trip to learn about financial literacy.
Students from Winridge Elementary School participate in JA BizTown, an experiential field trip to learn about financial literacy.
Laura Faith Kebede

In a city where one in four people live in poverty, it’s not unusual for children to grow up in homes where no adult has a bank account.

Teaching financial literacy is just part of the mission of Junior Achievement of Memphis and the Mid-South.

Since 1955, the organization has been educating Memphis-area students about how money works, entrepreneurship and work readiness. Each year, the nonprofit organization reaches 26,000 students.

Chalkbeat recently visited JA BizTown, the simulated miniature city in downtown Memphis where students in grades 4-6 come to explore what it’s like to write a check, manage a business, vote for their own mayor, and apply for a job. The field trip is the highlight of a five-week Junior Achievement curriculum in which their teachers cover the workings of business, banking and government.

Here’s what we saw.

Running mini-Memphis for a day, fifth-graders say adult work is hard (and fun) from Chalkbeat Tennessee on Vimeo.

Most of Junior Achievement’s funding comes from corporate sponsorships, fundraising events and individual donors. The former Memphis City Schools used to sponsor student fees for the program until the initiative was cut from the budget in 2008. But businesses can adopt a local public school and pay the way for students to take advantage of the curriculum and go on the field trip.

Learn more here.

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