"We want everybody to have access to things that just aren't taught in the classroom: financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship," Cristene Burr, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Northern California, said.
JA programs are often led by industry professionals inside classrooms or on job sites to kids K through 12. Like almost everything else during the pandemic, JA has been forced to pivot.
"We saw an opportunity to activate more of our corporate partnerships by doing some really unique internships virtually," Burr said. "At first we were like, 'Oh there's no way this is going to be exciting for kids,' but they were so into it because so many of the things they would have normally done in the summer were not able to transpire."
CORONAVIRUS EDUCATION: Bay Area nonprofit offers free distance learning to homeschool kids during COVID-19 pandemic
Now that the school year is here, JA is a ready to help.
"We do not charge schools or students for our curriculum," Burr said. "You can access our curriculum online through our website. You can request a virtual volunteer."
JA mentors hail from companies like Google, the San Francisco Giants, and Bank of America. The goal is to give kids access to potential career paths and new ideas.
In late September, JA will host a virtual financial literacy town hall. Students will ask questions and can connect with some of the region's best economists, entrepreneurs, psychologists and counselors.
"You know in COVID, in the fire situation, students have parents that are not working," Burr said. "Some of these students had jobs themselves and they're not working. Kids are making decisions about which schools to apply to for college."
Younger students will learn about less complex issues like wants versus needs. The town hall is just one example of what JA has to offer. The nonprofit hopes that as parents and teachers work to make sure students have the best distance learning experience possible, JA can help along the way.
ABC7 News is partnering with Junior Achievement of Northern California for their Financial Literacy in a Pandemic State of Mind virtual town hall on Sept. 24 from 3 to 4 p.m. It's free and you can find more information here.