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Education key to Choice Financial Junior Bank Board

Have you ever thought to yourself or heard someone else say that today's youth just don't understand the value of a dollar? Or that they will have a rude awakening when they get out in the "real world?"

In an effort to help educate students in these areas, Choice Financial developed a Junior Bank Board (JBB) program three years ago that is offered to high school juniors and seniors in seven Choice Financial locations providing the opportunity for students to learn about a variety of businesses and the role they play within the community and economy.

A total of 124 students have now completed the program, among them several from West Fargo High School, whose present JBB membership numbers 12, including: ????? The board meets monthly during the school year, along with their Choice Financial advisor Eddie Sheeley.

Goals of the Junior Bank Board are varied, focusing on financial literacy, preparation for life outside high school, lessons in preparing for a job interview, helping students become more of an asset to their future employers, teaching responsibility by making leaders among peers, enhancing student's resumes, unity with the school, networking with peers and their community, and building chamber and community camaraderie.

As an added learning experience, a trip is sponsored each April by the bank for members from all locations to visit the Federal Reserve in Minneapolis or other important organizations. This year the JBB toured Risdall Advertising Agency in New Brighton, Minn., where the members were able to get a firsthand look at what the advertising world is like and all the aspects of a functioning agency, including the technology, operations, creative, and sales departments.

Those students interested in becoming a JBB member are asked to complete an application and return it to their Choice location contact. Once applications have been collected, the interviewing process begins. There are a variety of traits considered for membership, including a positive attitude, self-confidence and good communication skills, which are all attributes employers look for in prospective employees. Students must also maintain a 2.0 GPA, attend all meetings, and must follow the rules of the school's extra-curricular activity eligibility.

The Junior Bank Board does not have meeting dues, however, each JBB member will accrue $25 per meeting they attend. At the end of the school year, the Board members select a school association, event, or community project they would like to donate the money to. In 2006 alone, $7,750 was awarded to several organizations across North Dakota from the meeting stipend.

More information about the Junior Bank Board is available by contacting the program director, Sara Gullickson at 701-352-0242.