The Clay County Junior Achievement Board met for the first time Thursday afternoon at the Farm Bureau Insurance building to discuss the growth of Junior Achievement (JA) in the area.
Junior Achievement brings local business people into the classroom to teach curriculum-related business concepts.
Currently, the Wabash Valley Junior Achievement Board in Terre Haute runs all of the JA programs in Clay County.
The Wabash Valley board supports eight counties in Indiana and Illinois.
Veronica Dougherty, President of the Junior Achievement of Wabash Valley, has been with the program for six years and has watched the participation triple since she began.
Dougherty says that JA gives kids confidence and "opens their eyes to potential."
Because of the growth, Dougherty wanted to establish satellite boards for individual counties so members of the community pick what's best for their students.
A satellite board in Crawford County, Ill. has already been established.
Programs are offered for kindergarten through 12th grade, and some grades are offered multiple course options.
Fredia Haviland, a JA volunteer in Clay County and a Wabash Valley board member, was recruited by Dougherty to establish the Clay County board.
Last school year, JA programs were done in 18 classrooms in Clay Community Schools, and several more were turned down because of a lack of volunteers.
Programs were also handed out to second, fifth, and eighth graders.
The county board will be responsible for finding funding for the program and volunteers from the community to teach.
Haviland says her goal for the board is to double the number of classrooms in which JA can present programs.
A program is presented once a week for five weeks, and costs range from $175-$500 depending on the level.
Board member David Henry said that JA helps prepare kids for the business world, and when adults complain that today's kids falter after school, "that's when we need to give back."
Those interested in sharing their professional experiences with students or joining the Clay County Board can contact Dougherty at 812-234-9044.