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NSB Team Members Changing Lives of Maine Youth with “Junior Achievement of Maine”

NORWAY—The second graders at Guy E. Rowe Elementary School in Norway implore their teacher to let them continue the game they’re playing that, on its surface is about making pizzas but, underneath, is teaching them foundational financial skills that could last a lifetime.

In the front of the classroom, Sarah Porter, Retail Talent Development Business Partner at Norway Savings Bank, can’t suppress her smile.

“They enjoy it, and so do I,” she said. “We do activities based around money, entrepreneurship, businesses, the skills that they’ll need to have a job, and being a responsible community member.”

Sarah is one of the Norway Savings Bank team members who contribute their time and expertise to Junior Achievement of Maine, an organization that provides children with lessons on financial literacy, work, and career readiness to inspire and prepare them for success.

Thanks to generous volunteers, Junior Achievement is able to send local professionals into schools around Maine to ignite a spark in young people to realize the opportunities and realities of work and life in the 21st century.

Grades and classes usually participate in five sessions that run around an hour.

“We are able to help them understand that there are more jobs and career paths that they haven’t considered,” said Sarah. “Some of them even mention that they would like to have their own business one day.”

Linette Dehetre is a Branch Manager and Retail Lender VP for Norway Savings Bank who has participated in schools in the Auburn area, where she is based.

“It’s a truly rewarding experience,” said Linette. “I so enjoy being in the community where I see the students, and they share with their family that I came to the school. I have received tokens of appreciation with my favorite being handmade thank you cards.”

Research has shown that Junior Achievement “alumni” are more likely to one day earn a college degree and start a business as an adult. It’s an experience that changes the lives of young people as well as those providing the guidance.

“The organization provides you with the curriculum and tools necessary to make you feel comfortable and prepared,” said Linette. “Volunteering is as easy as completing a volunteer form and Junior Achievement matches you with a school nearby.”

Linette is one of over 25 Norway Savings Bank team members who have hit Maine classrooms to help students feel more confident about managing money and their futures. Norway Savings Bank has also been a financial supporter of the organization for over a decade, including a $1,000 donation in January.

“Our team members have been so moved to play a part in inspiring and preparing kids to be career and life ready,” said Janice de Lima, Community Reinvestment Act Officer VP at Norway Savings. “We continually encourage team members to get involved and help bring these learning experiences to life.” 

As for the kids at Rowe Elementary, Sarah is already looking forward to her next visit.

“They’re all going to get ‘play money’ and have a job and a good or a service to provide, like a farmer having produce for sale. Other children will have to use money to get the produce,” she said. “This will show how money moves through a community. They’ll love it.”