23 March 2015
Teaming Up with JA of Northern Nevada To Teach Kids about Business

As the world’s largest non-profit economic education organization, Junior Achievement (JA) teaches young people about free enterprise, business and economics. Nevada State Bank’s ongoing commitment to Junior Achievement of Northern Nevada has helped the non-profit group reach more than 8,000 kindergarten through 12th grade students with age-appropriate financial literacy lessons.

Bill Heitman, President of JA of Northern Nevada, said, “I couldn’t be more pleased with our partnership with Nevada State Bank. They are one of our top supporters, providing classroom volunteers as well as financial support. I often use the bank as an example when talking with potential business partners.”

Marge Millar, Nevada State Bank vice president and branch manager of the West Liberty branch in downtown Reno, is passionate about the group’s financial literacy efforts. She not only volunteers to teach in classrooms, but also serves on the board of directors for JA of Northern Nevada as Education Chairperson.

Millar explained that Nevada State Bank has stepped up its support for JA over the last 4 years, and now averages about 30 volunteers teaching JA lessons in local schools. On January 28, 2015 they held their second annual JA in a Day event at the Coral Academy of Science elementary school, a charter school in Reno. A total of 24 volunteers spent the school day teaching JA lessons, reaching more than 450 children in 22 classrooms. They are currently making plans for a second JA in a Day event at a different school before the end of the school year.

Volunteers also teach JA lessons on an ongoing basis at various elementary, middle and high schools in Northern Nevada. Millar has completed several sessions this year at Our Lady of the Snows private school. “By teaching at schools all over the community, we reach children at all socio-economic levels,” she explained. “It’s given me a real insight into their lives and their experiences. I think I learn as much from them as they learn from me.”

In addition to volunteering in classrooms, Nevada State Bank colleagues throughout Northern Nevada help raise money for JA through its annual Rock-n-Bowl fundraiser. Each five-person team has a goal of raising $500 by selling raffle tickets for prizes ranging from Visa gift cards to a Grand Sierra resort package. For the last four years, the Bank has won the coveted Golden Pin prize for recruiting the most teams. Melissa Kinsman, administrative assistant for the Bank’s northern region, helps coordinate the Bank’s participation in the event. She joked, “If we win the Golden Pin again next year, we’re going to ask JA to let us paint it Nevada State Bank blue!”

This year’s event, held on March 21, had a “rock and roll” theme, with teams competing for prizes for the best team name and best costumes. Creative team names included Bowling Stones, Gutter Fingers, and Too Legit to Split. A best-ever 21 teams from Nevada State Bank participated this year, raising $7,638 for Junior Achievement. Teams from as far away as Elko County drove in to attend the Rock-n-Bowl event and to celebrate the successful conclusion of the fundraising campaign. Bill Heitman of JA noted, “One of the reasons the bank has been so successful is that they have an entire team supporting their efforts, including [Regional Manager] Debby Herman, Melissa Kinsman and our board member, Marge Millar.”

JA in Northern Nevada recently received the largest donation in its history, a $100,000 grant from a retired couple who requested that part of the funds be used to bring JA lessons to children in underserved rural areas. Millar and her committee are reaching out to schools in rural counties to see about expanding into those locations, and Nevada State Bank colleagues are helping in that effort through their contacts in the communities where they live and work.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.


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