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JA of Western Mass earns grant from Pitney Bowes Foundation

Date: 12/28/2009

SPRINGFIELD - The Pitney Bowes Foundation provided a $5,000 grant to Junior Achievement (JA) of Western Massachusetts to sponsor 15 JA America Works programs in Western Massachusetts. This is the second time JA of Western Massachusetts has received a JA America Works Grant from the Pitney Bowes Foundation.

This fall over 380 seventh and eighth grade students in Springfield and Ludlow completed the JA America Works program. The program provides students with examples of how business and entrepreneurship affected the economic development of the United States during the 19th century. Students learned how immigrants contributed to the U.S. economy during the 19th century, the significant role agriculture played in the economic development of the United States during the 1800s, and how industrialization led to increased productivity during the 19th century.

After her class completed the JA America Works program, Ms. Laster, a teacher at STEM Middle Academy, wrote, "JA was a great learning experience for our students. The material is very well presented. The content is relevant and it promotes critical thinking."

All JA programs are presented by trained JA volunteers from local businesses and the community. Ms. Case, a seventh grade teacher at STEM Middle Academy, felt it was important for her students to be able to interact with volunteers from outside the school, noting, "I appreciated the relationship established between students and a 'real world/outside' professional."

Kathleen Ryan Mufson, vice president, Pitney Bowes Foundation, said, "Pitney Bowes is proud to again support JA America Works programs in Massachusetts. The program plays a vital role in teaching young students about the dynamic relationship between business and the U.S. economy, building analytical skills that help the students apply what they learn to current events."

Through the generosity of the Pitney Bowes Foundation and local volunteers from Springfield College, American International College, Springfield Schools, Savage Arms, TD Bank and Hampden Bank the students learned about the immigrants and entrepreneurs who helped build the United States and how going forward they could become entrepreneurs and help shape the future.