Pass It On

Reaching Out

Now we're hoping that you all understand why such youthful cognizance should be at the very top of your to-do list. With such organizations ensuring so many of our youths' futures, it is extremely important that entrepreneurs and small business owners not only do their part in keeping such programs alive and kicking, but also take the steps to promote the integration of such knowledge into every elementary, secondary and post-secondary curriculum. Volunteering your advice, time or money to these kinds of organizations is just one way to keep the ball rolling in the right direction. "Educators are dying for somebody to come in, because the more viewpoints the kids are eventually exposed to, the broader their options are going to end up being," explains DECA's Coffey.

Contributing time as a judge for the many regional competitions held by each organization is another way experienced entrepreneurs can further these organizations. SIFE holds its regional competitions in 19 cities nationwide; DECA holds contests in every state; and JA has 168 offices around the country, all needing members to sit on the local boards.

And in the Babson community, you can volunteer your time as a mentor company. And, of course, becoming part of the angel group that contributes toward the seed fund always helps.

But it goes both ways, because the students receiving help are more than prepared to give back. SIFE students, for example, willingly assist with business plans, marketing strategies and even market surveys.

Clearly, as today's youth continue to embrace entrepreneurship, using educational priorities and volunteerism to support the growth of entrepreneurial learning and ideals becomes evermore critical in a world where self-sufficiency often begets economic success. Says JA's Hayes, "The more we can do to help kids understand this field, the better they'll be prepared to sustain it, take advantage of it and the more they will benefit from it as they grow older." How can we truly expect future generations to champion entrepreneurship if they don't know anything about it?

Live And Learn

Program: Junior Achievement Inc.
Mission: To educate and inspire young people (grades K through 12) to value and understand free enterprise, business and economics in order to improve the quality of their lives
Contact: Junior Achievement, One Education Wy., Colorado Springs, CO 80906, (800) THE-NEW-JA, fax: (719) 540-6299, www.ja.org

Program: National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
Mission: To teach low-income and at-risk young people the basics of starting and operating a small business
Contact: NFTE, 120 Wall Street, 29th Fl., New York, NY 10005, (212) 232-3333 or (800) 367-6383, fax: (212) 232-2244, www.nfte.com or nfte@nfte.com

Program: Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE)
Mission: To provide college students the opportunity to establish free-enterprise community outreach programs that teach others how market economies and businesses operate
Contact: The Jack Shewmaker SIFE World Headquarters, Robert W. Plaster Free Enterprise Center, Jack Kahl Entrepreneurship Center, 1959 East Kerr St., Springfield, MO 65803-4775, main number: (417) 831-9505, University Relations: (800) 235-9585, Resource Development: (800) 677-SIFE, fax: (417) 831-6165, www.sife.org

Program: Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA)
Mission: To help students develop skills and competence in marketing, management and entrepreneurship
Contact: DECA , 1908 Association Dr., Reston, VA 20191, (703) 860-5000, www.deca.org, e-mail: decainc@aol.com

Contact Sources

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This article was originally published in the June 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Pass It On.

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