Arizona Coyotes volunteers met at Joseph Zito Elementary School in Phoenix last Friday, hoping to share life skills and offer advice by sharing their own personal experiences.
However, the smiles and commitment of the students made it worth it.
The team worked with Junior Achievement of Arizona, a nonprofit organization that has been in Arizona for 65 years and has offices across the country. The organization aims to prepare students for success in work and life by “equipping them with the knowledge and skills they need to manage their money, plan for their future and make smart academic, professional and economic decisions.” To make decisions”. according to its website.
The sessions on Friday were not the end, but for many a first glimpse into the future.
“It means a lot to our students to be able to connect with people they might not have in their normal day,” said Laura Couret, Headteacher. “We have people who like sports and news. You never know how to touch someone’s heart.”
Couret said the school itself particularly benefits from programs like Junior Achievement’s, as many of the students participating are affected by generational poverty. The families come from Africa, Thailand, India, Mexico and throughout Central America, and many of the children are first-generation born in the United States.
Taylor Schulte, Junior Achievement of Arizona’s education manager, said the nonprofit’s goals are to make a lasting, positive impact on these very students.
“Our goal is to ensure students have the skills and mindset to help build thriving communities,” she said. “We want to prepare them for success when they grow up or just down the road and help return to this school to work with them year after year to ensure students are prepared for the life that lies ahead. “
Nadia Rivera, chief impact officer of The Coyotes and executive director of Foundation and Community Impact, said the ability to make even the smallest impact on the children at Zito Elementary is the most important lesson of all.
“A lot of these families and their children are focused on their basic needs,” Rivera said. “We tried to direct their attention to something more sophisticated.
“It’s their future and they don’t have to think about it every day.”
Throughout the day, volunteers from the Coyotes shared real-life examples of their profession and what it takes to achieve their goals with students from kindergarten through fifth grade.
Coordinated lesson plans that focused on the importance of education and financial literacy supported the volunteers as they addressed different classes throughout the day.
The end result included ear-to-ear smiles and high levels of student engagement.
“It was a really good opportunity and something we want to do with them again later,” said Nick Staloch, the Coyotes’ senior coordinator of Foundation and Community Impact. “It was really cool to see the kids glow when they found out they could start learning these skills today.”
Coure agreed. A native of San Luiz, Arizona, he knows firsthand the disadvantages of some students at the school.
“The fact that the Coyotes are willing to come all the way here says so much about the organization,” she said. “There are many places you can go as an organization to get PR points and this is not one of them.”
The Coyotes have worked with Junior Achievement in the past, most notably at their “JA Biztown” location in Tempe. In it, students have the opportunity to take part in a community simulation that teaches everything from running a business to investing and saving money through banking.
The kids have their own businesses that they run, sell produce and even elect a mayor for the day.
It’s all part of Junior Achievement’s mission to prepare the nation’s youth for their next phase in life, and when Staloch saw the effort that went into it, he knew right away that he wanted the Coyotes to get more involved.
“We looked at volunteer opportunities and one of them was the career speaker series,” Staloch said. “In the end, not only did we share a little bit about ourselves, our career path and education, but we got to talk to them about financial education, saving expenses, etc.
“It was a really good opportunity and something we want to do with them again later.”