Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Young AmeriTowne is an award-winning educational program serving 34,066 5th graders every year, including 12,025 at-risk and low-income students. Almost half of all Colorado 5th graders experience free enterprise and real-life careers at Young AmeriTowne, where they learn money management, workplace skills and economics in a fun and hands-on way.
Up to 21 hours of classroom lessons culminate in a day at AmeriTowne where students run their own town of 9-17 businesses. The program takes place three permanent locations - Denver, Lakewood (Belmar) and Wray-and at AmeriTowne On the Road, visiting rural and remote areas of the state, and smaller, at-risk urban schools.
"I really had an awesome time. It felt like we were in the real world. It looked like it, sounded like and even worked like the real world would." - Ashley, age 10.
In the classroom, students learn about banking, investing, civics, business, and philanthropy. They elect a mayor and enact laws. They set personal savings goals and build a budget for a family of four. They read "help-wanted" ads, apply, and interview for jobs. Managers lead staff meetings where their team creates a marketing plan, establishes financial goals and sets product prices.
At AmeriTowne, students become citizens, working for wages, adjusting prices to meet supply and demand, and purchasing real goods on their breaks. Back at school, students take a post-test and balance their personal and shop registers. Business teams review their profit/loss statements to see how well their business plans worked.
Young AmeriTowne is aligned to Colorado academic standards in financial literacy, math, economics, social studies, and language arts (reading, writing, oral presentations). The curriculum includes a standards guide prepared by an outside consultant plus four hours of in-person training for teachers.
74% of students scored proficient (70%+) on their post-tests
81% of students self-identified as "hard workers," valuing a good work ethic
93% of 396 participating schools re-enroll
12% growth overall/13% growth in at-risk students (most recent year)
Children ages 5 to 21
YouthBiz entrepreneurship programs are dedicated to helping young people, particularly those who face academic, social and economic barriers, to think like, act like and be entrepreneurs. Programs include the new YouthBiz StartUp and Out of the Box ten-week programs for low-income middle school students, YouthBiz Marketplaces, summer camps and the annual Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars Colorado's largest business competition for youth entrepreneurs.
In 10 weeks, StartUp takes middle schools students through the building blocks of success: self-discovery, opportunity recognition and upcycling, decision making, prototyping and business etiquette. Graduation is a Shark Tank style pitch judged by business volunteers.
Out of the Box
In this advanced curriculum, low-income middle and high school students establish a Dream Team and take their business idea through research and focus group to a working prototype and 20 high-quality products. Successful teams share the profits at the YouthBiz MarketPlace.
Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars
Colorado's premier business competition, Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars celebrates young entrepreneurs, ages 6-21. This is not a business plan competition, but for real businesses, owned and operated by our future business leaders. Winners in three age groups get cash prizes plus a distinguished Presenting Mentor from the business community. Every applicant receives feedback from the panel of judges plus hands-on practice in business networking as an honored guest at the Spotlight on YouthBiz Stars gala where corporate sponsors host a young business ower at their tables.
Week-long, day camps teach kids in grades 3-6 the basics of starting and running a business. Scholarships made possible by donations to the Summer Programs qualify for the Colorado Child Care Tax credit.
Fills the critical need for a safe sales outlet where young business owners can practice business etiquette, customer service, sales and accepting payments. YouthBiz Markets are held at Young Americans facilities in Denver and Lakewood, Colorado the first two Saturdays in December and again in the spring.
Low-income youth completing YouthBiz StartUp or Out of the Box:
- Improved problem-solving skills by 15.3%
- Improved salesmanship by 4.0% and persuasiveness by 8.4%
- Improved collaboration skills by 10.6%
- Made a 17.3% gain in social awareness: understanding and respecting cultures-a key skill for aspiring entrepreneurs to sell product to as a broad market as possible.
Enrollment is growing fast: serving 127 low-income youth in 2015 and 1,239 in 2017.
YouthBiz is presented with great nonprofit partners including Goodwill Industries, Girls Inc., Mi Casa Resource Center, Denver Public Library System.
Children Only (5 - 14 years)
At International Towne 10,991 middle school students each year prepare for a future job in Colorado's thriving global economy as they experience hands-on, real-life how money and goods move world-wide.
Teachers prepare students with up to 20 hours of classroom lessons, culminating in a day in International Towne's soaring space, where students run their own global market of 16 nations.
Lessons at school teach economic interdependence, scarcity, supply and demand, opportunity cost, team problem solving, wise use of credit cards and business norms in other cultures. Students write cover letters, apply and interview for the jobs they will hold in Towne. Each country's team prepares a marketing and business plan to drive trade and commerce.
At International Towne, students become global citizens, working a career-for-a-day, adjusting prices to meet supply and demand, exchanging currency and solving an International economic crisis that shuts down an entire region. Follow-up activities include a post-test and review of their country's balance of payments to see how well their economic strategies worked.
International Towne is aligned to Colorado academic standards in financial literacy, math, economics, social studies, geography and language arts (reading, writing, oral presentations) with a standards guide prepared by an outside educator.
International Towne is a school-based program and is also offered as a summer day camp for individual children.
76% of students scored proficient (70%+) on their post-tests.
66% of parents reported their middle school student talked about International Towne 5 or more times BEFORE the trip, demonstrating International Towne's power to engage learners.
Philanthropy, Voluntarism & Grantmaking
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Children (4-12 years)
Service learning through Spark Change is a year-long adventure that guides a whole school (pre-K through 8th grade) to work together in giving back to their community through their time, treasure and talent. The goal for this new program is to give students hands-on, real-life experience in philanthropy and to grow enrollment from 25 to 40 schools by the end of 2018.
Spark Change is provided free to schools. Each school needs approximately $100 in Spark Change materials. Donors who dedicate their gifts to Spark Change want to encourage giving back and growing leadership to become a part of each school's culture, as Spark Change is designed to be an ongoing, a permanent curriculum for enrolled schools.
How Spark Change works: During the first semester, Student Leaders work with their volunteer Spark Change Coach (parents, teachers, even principals are among our volunteers) to identify causes that students in their school are passionate about. After narrowing the field (for example, to homelessness, animal welfare and children fighting serious illnesses), Student Leaders set a fund raising goal for the school, and everyone participates, collecting small change which they will turn into big impact for their community. Student Leaders research and interview charities working in their chosen fields, select beneficiaries for their fund, and build a budget for their service project(s).
During the second semester, the entire school gets hands-on, completing a service project with one of their charitable beneficiaries, Projects tackled by Spark Change students range from making blankets for children in a homeless shelter, to planting flowers in an urban garden, to packing comfort backpacks for hospitalized children.
Educational Goals of Spark Change: Short term 1) develop 21st century skills of leadership, critical-thinking, problem-solving, budgeting, decision-making, collaboration, and communication, and 2) understand and support the role of nonprofits in their communities. The long-term goal is engaged citizens who make good financial decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.
Spark Change is also available to individual students in our summer day camp format.
Evaluation and Results: Young Americans utilizes surveys of coaches and attitudinal changes in our Student Leaders to measure success. We also maintain and compile records of participation and school demographics, and charities funded and amounts by school and charity.
Progress in 2018 (Spring Semester 2018 results)
Students at 25 schools raised $38,779
Awarded 53 community grants
Completed 31 service projects
Children ages 5 to 21
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Money Matters offers free Saturday classes for individual students (ages 3 - 14), tours of Young Americans Bank (our one-of-a-kind, real bank just for children), and delivers hands-on lessons in financial literacy for Denver area classrooms and youth agencies.
Available programming slots are filled to capacity.
77% of students at youth agencies participating in a series of classes had their knowledge rise by 2 levels.