Guatemalan Migrant Children Find a Home in JA BizTown

When JA of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast took its JA BizTown Mobile to a small, rural school for Guatemalan migrant children, it delivered much more than education--it delivered heavy measures of hope and happiness, too.

[Guatamelan children] Photo courtesy of Outtatown Discipleship School.

The school, named Hope Rural School in Indiantown, Fla., charges a yearly tuition, "and that's a struggle for many in the area," says Corinne Pike, the senior program manager at JA of the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast. "Most of these children have never even been inside a bank, let alone understand how banks work or even about personal checking accounts."

Pike adds that while she was at the JA BizTown teacher training, she explained to the teacher that the program would empower her students. And as the JA BizTown simulation unfolded there this March, the magic unfolded, too.

Normally reserved and painfully shy students were dancing wildly to the JA BizTown radio station's music, happily doing their jobs and writing checks all over town and having a blast buying products at the different businesses.

Pike says as the fun progressed, the students' teacher approached her. "I could tell she was visibly moved."

The teacher was silent for a minute, then looked at Pike with warm smile and said, "I've never seen my students more open and outwardly happy than they are right now."

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