WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – Over 30 student-athletes from University of Hartford athletics teams and financial services professionals from MetLife, partnered together to head classrooms on Friday, May 2 at the Laurel School in Bloomfield. The two groups teamed up to provide financial education to students by delivering Junior Achievement curriculum.
Among those participating in Friday’s Junior Achievement (JA) in a Day program were student-athletes representing men’s soccer, women’s soccer, volleyball, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s tennis, men’s basketball and women’s basketball. Following a pep rally style kick-off event, Hartford Hawks’ student-athletes taught students in kindergarten through fifth grade at the Laurel School.
An elementary school, the Laurel School in Bloomfield seeks to create a challenging learning environment that encourages high expectations for success through development-appropriate instruction that allows for individual differences and learning styles. Each student’s self-esteem is fostered by positive relationships with students and staff, and the K-2 school strives to have its parents, teachers and community members actively involved in the students’ learning.
JA in A Day is a one-day presentation of Junior Achievement’s programs and a terrific way for young students to experience the valuable lessons JA programs provide in a same-day series of five engaging, hands-on lessons. The University of Hartford has more than 300 student athletes competing in 18 Division 1 sports. It is anticipated that representatives of each of the school’s teams will participate in a local JA program at some point during the academic year.
“One of the unique things about the University of Hartford athletics family is our sense of community, not just within the athletic department, but on campus and in the surrounding towns,” said head women’s basketball coach Jennifer Rizzotti. “JA’s mission fits with what we do on a daily basis. As coaches, we work to prepare our student-athletes for the world beyond athletics. We thought it would be a good opportunity to give these young kids role models they can relate to and allow them to see who our kids are off the playing field. In addition, it gives our athletes the reciprocal opportunity to continue giving back.”
In the past year, over 90 of Hartford’s student-athletes have participated in JA, representing all 18 of the University’s Division I athletic teams. Last December, 50 student-athletes partnered with financial professionals from Deloitte, the Hartford office of global professional services organization, to provide financial education to students attending the Noah Webster MicroSociety Magnet School in Hartford.
The 2013-14 academic year is the first time that athletes across all sports have worked with JA in elementary school classrooms as a year-long community service initiative.
“We are grateful that the employees of these outstanding financial services organizations and the student-athletes are committed to giving back to the community,” said Lou Golden, President of JA of Southwest New England. “The elementary school students get a glimpse of the importance of continuing their education, and the opportunities and career paths that can result.”