Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Cherokee Nation’s collaboration with Junior Achievement increases financial literacy

The Cherokee Nation has a long history of being a leader in education. We keep that tradition alive and well by forging new partnerships. One of the most successful collaborations we have is with Junior Achievement of Oklahoma.

For years, as individuals, Cherokees have been involved with Junior Achievement and teaching young people about work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy. In 2011, we initiated a more formal partnership through Cherokee Nation Foundation and Cherokee Nation Businesses. In the last six years, we have helped almost 11,000 students, 525 classes, more than 60 schools and more than 280 teachers get the unique and educational exposure JA offers.

Recently, we were recognized by Junior Achievement for the positive work we have done together. Our goal is to prepare Cherokees and other students in northeast Oklahoma for the real world and encourage them to dream big. Like Cherokee Nation’s economic impact, this education effort benefits all Oklahomans, not just Cherokees.

Together, Cherokee Nation and Junior Achievement are working hard to elevate and not leave behind rural and underserved schools. Through our partnership with Junior Achievement, we are not just educating Cherokees, we are helping Junior Achievement reach a new demographic in rural northeast Oklahoma. Educational and informative workshops help youth develop an understanding of our economy and help them to start planning early.

Cherokee Nation was the first tribe to set up a commercial space in JA Biztown – a kid-sized replicate of a bustling city. We also sponsor classrooms from within the Cherokee Nation to attend.  Students complete an in-class curriculum pertaining to all aspects of business and industry prior to their visit. Once they arrive at the facility, they apply what they’ve learned in the hands-on setting, working various jobs and making financial decisions. 

These programs would not be as successful as they are without the volunteers from Cherokee Nation, Cherokee Nation Businesses and the local communities. Our employees embody the inspiration and excellence we strive for every day. They lead by example. All of our volunteers are dedicated and passionate about making a positive impact in our communities. They made it a mission to improve the lives of people here in Oklahoma. The real reward of being a volunteer for Junior Achievement is the personal satisfaction that naturally comes with increased engagement in a child’s future. The greatest thing we can do for our children is educate them, which is a serious responsibility.

Cherokee Nation will continue to team with Junior Achievement and support its mission. We appreciate the opportunity to work with a national organization that prioritizes innovative learning. Our kids are learning financial literacy, yes, but we also hope to spark an interest in Cherokee culture and a true sense of community.  Developing the next generation of business leaders is an important business initiative. Through Junior Achievement, we can better teach personal finance, community participation and the growing global marketplace. 


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