Chula Vista resident Duchi Galvez is bringing financial literacy to South Bay students.
In April Galvez became the education manager for South County for the nonprofit Junior Achievement and has been tasked with providing students in South County with the opportunity to learn how to manage money, create a business and learn the importance of credit.
“What Junior Achievement does is it empowers our students by teaching them financial literacy curriculum,” she said.
“So we teach them how to manage money, how to own a business and how to be an entrepreneur.”
Galvez said schools in California do not have a financial literacy curriculum, so Junior Achievement fills that void.
She said students should be taught how to manage their money because that is an important skill to have once they leave school.
“This is a life skill that we all need,” she said. “We all deal with money, it is part of our lives, we need to understand how to manage it, and we need to understand what credit does and how to get a job.”
Ultimately it is up to a school’s principal to decide whether they want to take on any programs that Junior Achievement offers.
Galvez said financial literacy is much needed for students in South County because of the many low-income families living there.
For example, she said, in San Ysidro one of three students are homeless. She said those students need to break that pattern. Galvez said with students taking a financial literacy course will help them with the tools needed to break that cycle.
The programs have successfully been used at Palmer Way Elementary, Rancho De La Nacion and El Toyon Elementary in National City.
Chula Vista schools such as Kellogg Elementary, Palomar Elementary and Halecrest Elementary have benefited from the programs.
The curriculum is set up for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
One of the programs called BizTown has fifth graders run a 10,000 square-foot mini city with a mayor, city council, businesses, and an airport. Students are exposed to four weeks of curriculum in the classroom on how to be a good citizen, how a city’s economy works, how to apply for a job and how to run a successful business.
Another program called JA DAY is a unique initiative that allows volunteers to teach the lessons of Junior Achievement’s elementary school programs in an effective one-day effort. In this program students learn about the various aspects of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship.
Galvez herself is an entrepreneur, running a nail salon in Bonita.
Prior to that she owned a commercial kitchen, a small factory of cookies that were sold at Sprouts.