Cashless Pioneers: Every Transaction Has a Story
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Back to School with “Economics for Success”

For the last six weeks, my working routine has changed a bit. Once a week, instead of going to the office as usual – or to a business meeting somewhere in Lisbon- I would start my day in a classroom. Not as a student, no. I did it as a volunteer in the Junior Achievement “Economics for Success” program, which MasterCard is strongly supporting in Portugal.

With this program, specifically designed for the youth, MasterCard contributes to forming savvy, intelligent consumers – the consumers and entrepreneurs of tomorrow- as students aged between 13 and 16 gain an in-depth understanding of their role in society and the economy.  “Economics for Success” is a 6-week program developed by Junior Achievement in collaboration with over 120 schools in Portugal. It focuses on personal finances, education, career options and skills values, as well as the the economic benefits of education.

And this is where we volunteers come in, by sharing our knowledge and experience with these kids. For this program, we have been assigned to a very special class: an all-girl school in Lisbon, and a quite traditional one. The students, of course, are very noisy, but also very engaged, interactive, curious and spontaneous. They are boisterous, it’s tiring, but definitely a wonderful experience!

This volunteer opportunity has made me relive my own choices and thoughts at the time when I was 15 and 16. Looking back, I think I have made the right decisions, and I am happy about them. But every time I leave the classroom I think to myself “I wish I had someone sharing these ideas with me when I was their age.” It would have been easier and saved me a lot of time!

What about you? Would you have benefited from a program like this or better yet, do you think this is a good opportunity for your kids?