JA In The News | Junior Achievement of Maine

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What's it like to Intern for JA Maine?

College student Abby Cough talks about her experience so far this summer as an intern with JA Maine.

The internship research process is a drawn out, stress induced period that makes every college student question what they want to do in life. Why is this process so disruptive? It could be that in pouring over internship applications you lose your idea of what you wanted to do in the first place. In my last 3 weeks as an intern I have seen the job titles for compliance analysts, receivables representatives, creative services specialist, independent associate and other multi-syllabic titles that did not enter my line of sight until this summer. Where are these job descriptions, and why am I only learning about them now? It is not so obvious how many different ways a person can use their skill set, and so students tend to grow up categorizing themselves into only those household name professions - doctor, lawyer etc. This is why Junior Achievement became the perfect place to intern - I would work for an organization that helps kids to approach this same question with clarity and confidence. Apart from being great exposure to the nonprofit world, Junior Achievement has made me think about what I wish I knew as a kid. On my second day as an intern I was thrown in as a volunteer which was great, and because I was somewhat able to take a backseat to teaching I was able to observe how the kids were reacting to the material. It can be hard to keep your focus in 7th grade, but it was obvious what kept their attention and what sparked their enthusiasm.   



That day there were several volunteers from MaineHealth, most of whom were not traditional doctors or nurses and I think these types of volunteers work to round out the lessons of Junior Achievement. Volunteers from Maine businesses can showcase the myriad of non-household name professions that exist that the kids probably don’t know about. In this personal exchange with a Maine professional it also gets kids thinking about the types of business in this state, and hopefully it will show them opportunities outside of tourism that exist in Maine. I recently learned that Maine has the oldest population in the United States and that stoked my thoughts on a few things, but namely on how young people view Maine. Most people know Maine as a summer spot - Vacationland - or as “basically Canada” as my friend tells me, and so right away young people in other states don’t think of the state as having growing industries. This is something that even Mainers think, but I think in order to propagate a vision of Maine with healthy industries and growing jobs it will really take programs like JA to educate students when they are forming their opinions of the world.  


The fact is that my experience with JA so far has prompted me to think of Maine and its workforce, which is something I had never given a whole lot of thought towards. It is exciting then, as a young professional, to have your first internship give you so much to think about and so much excitement towards your working life. It is daunting, but more and more I find myself wanting to solve Maine's problem in its education, workforce, or even how we do business. I realize though that this is what JA is meant to do for kids, it is meant to get them to think about what they want to impact in the world so that hopefully they can cultivate that idea early on. Even as a college student this idea morphs over time, which can make pinpointing what you want to do a bit more difficult. With that said, it excites me that in only two weeks of my internship with JA that it has compelled me to think of my own impact in a much more clear and determined way.


Abby Cough is entering her senior year at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and hopes to return to Maine to build her career in her home state. 



Assistant Principal Writes Letter in Support of JA

Bonny Eagle Middle School: In Support of Junior Achievement

Bonny Eagle Students learned about personal branding in "JA it's My Future".

“I first learned of Junior Achievement when I was a sixth grade teacher in Saco. When I became an assistant principal at Bonny Eagle Middle School in 2012, we brought Junior Achievement programming to our seventh and eighth graders. As the largest middle school in Maine, Junior Achievement is reaching 600 students per year in the communities of Buxton, Frye Island, Hollis, Liminington, and Standish.

Many of these students have low aspirations for themselves; they struggle to identify what kind of future they want to build for themselves. I have witnessed Junior Achievement first hand as students begin to think about their future. This makes a positive and lasting impact on our students.

From an education standpoint our staff have been able to connect the information taught through Junior Achievement to the regular curriculum. The Junior Achievement lessons now align with our District’s graduation standards. Our staff have integrated this information to the point where staff have created common assessments to ensure students are leaning the economics being taught.

Junior Achievement also helps to bring community together. Junior Achievement brings professionals from the community into the classroom. These professionals help to make learning real for our students who sometimes struggle to see the connection between school and the world. These professionals also build connections with the school helping to building lasting community relationships.

Junior Achievement has made a positive and lasting impression for both students, and our school community. I truly believe the work of Junior Achievement will have a profound economic impact in the coming years.”

Benjamin J. Harris, Assistant Principal, Bonny Eagle Middle School

Special thanks to Mr. Harris, for his kind words and continued partnership with JA of Maine. If you want to participate in Junior Achievement, you can request a class as a teacher or sign up to teach as a volunteer today!


Dead River Company: How JA Teaches Workplace Etiquette

Dead River Company's Guy Langevin Reflects on the Relevance of JA Programs to the Real World

Guy Langevin of Dead River Company and JA of Maine Board Member

I recently read an article by Larry Buhl titled, “6 Soft Skills Everyone Needs and Employers Look For” that really struck a cord with me. As an HR professional I see the importance of the so-called “soft skills” in the workplace every day.

The soft skills outlined by Buhl include:
· Communication,
· Collaboration & Teamwork,
· Problem Solving,
· Conflict Resolution,
· Adaptability, and
· Critical Observation.

At Dead River Company, we value these skills in our workplace because they help us to better serve our customers. We are more effective and efficient when teams are working collaboratively, solving problems, and communicating with each other.

But soft skills aren’t just important in the “business world,” they are also important in our children’s classrooms. Developing these skills early will help with future career success. I had the opportunity to teach a Junior Achievement middle school program to my daughter’s sixth grade class. In this program titled “JA It’s My Future there is a brand activity where students learn how they are their own personal brand - how they want to be perceived by others, what qualities they possess, etc.

During this session, we covered the importance of first impressions – how to dress for an interview, the importance of eye contact and a firm handshake. The final lesson in the program is called “How to Keep (or Lose) a Job.” Students learn the differences between technical skills and soft skills. The activity has students identify some of the soft skills they already possess and the ones they need to practice. We cannot start developing these core skills too early.

Kudos to Junior Achievement of Maine for promoting the development of these skills in Maine’s children.


Guy Langevin is the Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development at Dead River Company and a member of Junior Achievement's Board of Directors.


Educator Spotlight: Anne Farrell

Our Educator Spotlight is Anne Farrell. Ms. Farrell is a 3rd grade teacher at Old Town Elementary School and uses the JA Our City program in her classroom. Read on to get to know Ms. Farrell.
Photo: Ms. Farrell's Old Town Elementary School 3rd graders with their JA volunteer, Marcus Barresi of Barresi Financial, Inc. 
How long have you been teaching at Old Town Elementary School?
Ms. Farrell: I have been working at Old Town Elementary School for 3 years and the year before that I did my student teaching here. I have been an Ed Tech, taught 5th grade and have been in 3rd grade for the last two years. 
Have you had a JA program in your class before?
Ms. Farrell: I saw JA for the first time when I was student teaching here. I've been participating with my class for the last two years. 
How does JA Our City help your students?
Ms. Farrell: It's a great program that connects with our social studies topics about how a community works and grows. Parts of the program even align with what we're doing in math! 
What piece of advice can you give JA volunteers about teaching third graders?
Ms. Farrell: Be patient and be very clear! Third graders are a wiggly bunch and have a hard time sitting for a hour some days! It's always good to explain a new word; the more you use the language the better they will absorb the knowledge!  
What's the best children's book you've read lately?
Ms. Farrell: The best children's book I've read recently has been New York's Bravest by Mary Pope Osborne. I love the message of courage and helping others! 
Tell us a little bit about your background: Are you a native Mainer? If not, how did you end up here? What do you like to do in your free time?
Ms. Farrell: I was raised in Maine. I grew up in Portland with my parents and three siblings. I came to Orono to go to the University of Maine. My favorite thing to do after school is go for long walks on the bike path behind our school! Getting fresh air makes me feel like a new person.

Thank you, Ms. Farrell, for speaking with us! If you want to participate in Junior Achievement, you can still request a class or sign up to teach one as a volunteer.


Volunteer Spotlight


Junior Achievement President Michelle Anderson on the importance of JA Volunteers:

"Volunteers are the most important aspect of a JA program. They share their life and work experiences with the kids to help them make the connections between what they are learning in school to what they could do in the future for a career path." 

Volunteer Spotlight:

Who?  Jeanna Tudor

Where does she work? Regulatory Oversight Director at Anthem BCBS

What grade did she teach? 3rd grade at Wentworth School

What program did she teach? JA Our City 

Description of program: JA Our City introduces students to the characteristics of cities and how cities are shaped by zoning. Students also learn about the importance of money to a city; how financial institutions help businesses and city residents; and how the media is an integral part of a city's life. Students learn the role of an entrepreneur by exploring what it takes to open a restaurant. 

Quote from teacher: “The positive attitude of the volunteer and the knowledge that the children learn about the business world [were my favorite parts].” - Kathy Delcourt, 3rd Grade Teacher, Wentworth School, Scarborough, ME.


JA positively impacted the lives of 10,554 Maine students in 125 schools throughout the 2015-16 academic year. This year, we are committed to doing even more by reaching 11,000 Maine children, helping to ensure that they, their families, and their communities enjoy a bright future. Join Jeanna in changing the lives of students in your community by volunteering this school year


Guest Blog: Interning in the Hospitality Industry

Junior Achievement had to opportunity to hear from an intern at The Portland Regency Hotel & Spa about her experience in the hospitality industry in Maine. See below for what Brianna Hughes has learned as a sales intern for the historic hotel in the city's Old Port neighborhood.


1.      What sparked your interest in the hospitality industry?

I really like interacting with people and making their day better. Even when I was young I knew I didn’t want a job that I had to always be behind a desk.

2.      What aspect of the hospitality industry is your most favorite?

Event planning. At High Point University my minor is Event Management. It has been interesting and rewarding.

3.      What are the essential skills and characteristics needed to work in this industry?

- Always have a smile on your face

- Stay strong

- Organized

- Time-management 

4.      What do you hope to get out of your internship experience?

Knowing how to plan an event from start to finish. This summer I have sat in on planning a meeting to greeting guests and showing people to their function rooms.

5.      How do you plan to make the most out of your internship experience?

I am learning and growing from each experience. Also saying “yes” to every opportunity can go a long way.

6.      What are you learning that you think will help you in the future at a job?

The Director of Sales, David Davis has given me many opportunities to try all aspects of the hotel. Getting experiences from each department has taught me how important it is to know the way each one works individually and together.

7.      Is there anything that you want to talk about that you think the JA readers should know about interning in hospitality in the summer in Maine?

You are an intern; it is okay to mess up sometimes. This is the time to learn from your mistakes. Take everything in and start to make connection. Hospitality relies heavily on connections and networking. 


Brianna makes a great point about the importance of networking and making strong connections in order to build your career. Junior Achievement's It's My Future program offers similar practical information about preparing for the working world. Students explore potential careers and recognize basic job hunting skills. Volunteer today to help prepare the next generation of Maine students! 


Guest Blog: Cousins Maine Lobster

Junior Achievement had the opportunity to speak with Sabin Lomac, co-founder of Cousins Maine Lobster, to learn more about what motivated him to start a food truck business with his cousin Jim Tselikis four years ago. In the interview below, Sabin advises young people that if you want something, anything, you should go and get it.

1.    When you were a kid did you have a plan for a career/college, were you preparing for any job or industry? If so did that preparation lead you to where you are today?

When I was growing up I really wasn’t sure which field I would land in, but in hindsight I can see how all of my previous experiences made me the person I am today. At a young age I knew that if I wanted anything, I had to go out and work for it. Coming from a single-parent family, there was no extra money laying around the house. If I wanted the team basketball shoes that everyone else had, I’d better get a job so I could buy them. I worked locally since the age of 12, starting at the Clambake in Pine Point (my neighborhood) and continuing on to work at over 50 locations (I wasn’t always the best employee). I worked as a dishwasher, a bus boy, a waiter, a pizza delivery person, tinting windows, selling sodas on the beach, cleaning a gym, mowing lawns, a line cook at Chilis, the appliance section at Best Buy, a natural food store, and many more. These jobs all helped me understand that hard work is essential in life, and they also helped me realize the type of employer I wanted to be. I saw the good and the bad in management, and it has helped me better communicate with my staff and lead from the front.

I also went to college to study drama and knew I loved acting and performing. I believe this has really helped me now as we are constantly in front of the camera and I feel very comfortable in this position.

2.    What didn't you do to prepare for where you are now that you wish you had? Take accounting or marketing classes in high school, for example.

I wish I had taken some accounting/finance classes in college as I really enjoy studying our numbers, but I am not an expert with Quickbooks. When you own a business, you must absolutely know every expense and bottom line number. Knowing these numbers fascinates me, but I need to get better. While we have excellent accountants that help us, I just want to know more. I am going to take a local course this year as I want to get better. I also remember in high school telling Mr. Kegler that I would never use math. Sorry Mr. Kegler, I use it daily. I wish I had studied more.

3.    Do you agree or disagree with doing what you love for a job even if it means you won't be rich or famous? Why do you agree or disagree?

Being rich and famous is nothing to aspire for. Being happy and healthy are the only things that matter. People fail to realize these basics when growing a business and it usually costs them dearly. When they are solely looking at the margin, the bottom line, and how much they can make…they will likely fail. People like this will likely cut corners and put out a marginal product, which the consumer will reject. You can’t fool the public, it’s that simple. When you love your work and are passionate about your lifestyle, the money and success will come. By putting out a superior product and providing excellent service, no matter what field you are in, you will be successful. We have had the opportunity to meet some very successful and wealthy people and they all share this same sentiment. Additionally, they each grew their businesses based around wanting to be happy and successful, not rich and famous.

Jim Tselikis (left) and Sabin Lomac founded Cousins Maine Lobster in 2012 after noticing the burgeoning Food Truck industry was missing a fresh seafood option.

4.    What does being from Maine mean to you and how does it impact who you are as men and business owners?

Being from Maine means everything to us. We are so proud to tell people we are from Maine and so happy that we are able to provide a glimpse to the world of the amazing state we represent, the hard working people Mainers are, and the beautiful towns we come from. Being from Maine is something unique that we share with a select group of people. My Grandparents met on Willard Beach. My mom was born in Portland. I grew up in Pine Point. Our family has a large number of traditions based in Maine and I feel lucky to be a part of this select club. Not many people are lucky enough to say they are from Maine.

Going home to Maine is always one of the most special times of the year for me. I instantly notice the difference in the air, the smells of nature, and it takes me back to my childhood. I get to eat at my local spots (Pat’s Pizza, Amato’s), I get to drink with my oldest friends at the bars we have been going to for decades (Dewey’s/Porthole), and I get a chance to slow down and appreciate the beauty that life has provided me.

Growing up in Maine we learned that life isn’t always easy, and we apply that mentality with each day of work. We don’t get too high, we don’t get too low, we adjust to the new day and we work hard. Working hard is something we learned at a young age and we still bring that fire to work everyday. Jim’s dad had him cleaning the Greek Church in Portland since he was 8. I worked since the age of 12. We knew that if we wanted something, anything, it was achievable…but we had to work hard. Mainers believe this, it’s a part of our DNA.

5.    What are your favorite pastimes when you aren't working?

I love to surf and I love the beach. I am pretty active and always moving, but during the NFL season I devote 10 hours each Sunday to watching football. It really makes me happy. Jim is also very active, still plays hockey in LA, and also loves the beach. We both love spending time with our family and close friends and enjoy acting as immature as possible, when applicable. In our office, we still have the Super Nintendo we grew up with and the game NHL 94 that we always played as kids. Back in the day, it was something to do during family parties. Today, we use it to see who’s buying lunch and for bragging rights. Jim’s currently on a winning streak - Ray Borque and Andy Moog have been playing really well.

6.    Anything you would like to say to our readers that we didn't ask you?

I would just remind the readers that if you want something, anything, you should go and get it. Your idea is real, it’s a good idea, but you need to do the hard work and you have to take the risk to see it become a reality. I meet so many people that tell me they “had” a great idea. What happened to it? If your inner entrepreneur is telling you to do something, do it. Just know there are no shortcuts, no days off, and it won’t be easy. Once you accept this and embrace the fear of following your dreams, you are a huge step closer to fulfilling them.


Junior Achievement of Maine believes in the educational and motivational impact of relevant, hands-on learning and is a proud supporter of local entrepreneurs. We hope to encourage more students like Sabin to pursue their dreams by preparing them for the workforce with programs such as JA Be Entrepreneurial and JA It's My Future. Sign up now to volunteer in a classroom this coming school year!


Laureate Spotlight: Tim Hussey


“Maine is a great place to live and work. Let's all figure out how to make it better.” -Tim Hussey, 1956-2016

Tim Hussey was President and Chief Executive Officer of Hussey Seating Company, a 6th generation, family-owned business founded in 1835, specializing in seating for gymnasiums, auditoriums, stadiums, and arenas. Tim joined the Company in 1982, and was named President and CEO in 1996.

The Company celebrated its 180th Anniversary in 2015, and is one of the 50 oldest family-owned businesses in the United States.

"You exemplify the Maine values of hard work, innovation and quality," Senator Susan Collins at the 175th Year Celebration at Hussey Seating in North Berwick.

Tim received his bachelor’s degree from Colby College in 1978 and his M.B.A. from Cornell University in 1982. He served as co-chair of the Maine Economic Growth Council, and also as a Board Member for Educate Maine and for the RSU#21 School District. In 2011, Tim was awarded “Employer of the Year” by York County Community College and The Center for Entrepreneurship.

Organizational involvement in the past includes the Colby College Board of Trustees, the Federal Reserve Advisory Council, United Way of York County, and Maine Development Foundation. He also has served on the Boards of several family businesses. Tim was a Junior Achievement volunteer for over 15 years, and served for six years on the State Board, including a term as the Board of Directors Chair. Tim was also a member of the World President’s Organization.

Tim's personal blog "Beating it" documented his inspiring battle with cancer, which he lost this past June at just 59 years old.

Tim was inducted to our Maine Business Hall of Fame in 2012 due to his lasting impact on the people and communities around him. Learn more about his inspiring work in the community in his laureate video from 2012.

Since 1990, Junior Achievement’s Maine Business Hall of Fame has honored our state’s most distinguished businessmen and women for their outstanding contributions to free enterprise and the promise of a better, stronger society. Two events are held each year: JA’s Maine Business Hall of Fame South, celebrating laureates in Southern Maine, and JA’s Maine Business Hall of Fame North, celebrating laureates in Eastern, Central & Northern Maine. The annual event in the South was held on May 9th at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks in South Portland and our North event will be held November 3rd at the Bangor Hilton Garden Inn.


L.L. Bean: What Makes A Good Employee




What Makes A “Star” L.L.Bean Employee?


L.L.Bean is a values and relationship-based organization with a Golden Rule that states in part, ‘Treat your customers like human beings.’ At L.L.Bean, we expect employees to treat both customers and co-workers as they would like to be treated.


Successful L.L.Bean employees exhibit our Core Values of perseverance and integrity. They work hard and see things through to the end. They are truthful and strive always to do the right thing, for our customers, co-workers and the company.”


Sara Spugnardi

Senior Retail Recruiter, L.L. Bean


When companies look for qualified candidates, how can they be sure they’ll find people with the skills they covet most? That’s where JA of Maine comes in. We focus on helping today’s students focus on developing the skills they will need to set them apart and succeed.

When you volunteer to work with JA, you help students access a world of possibilities. That just may be the best investment you can make in your company’s future success.


Sprague Energy: Tips for Filling out a Job Application

We received some great tips from a huge JA supporter, Sprague Energy, for students and recent grads on how to apply for jobs in today's economy. Sprague is one of the largest independent suppliers of energy and amterials handling services in the Northeast with products including home heating oil, diesel fuels, residual feuls, gasoline, and natural gas. Read on for their advice on understanding job descriptions and identifying opportunities that align with your interests.

Tips for Filling out a Job Application:

If you’re looking to land your first job, you’ll almost always have to complete an application for employment. Most often these days, that means filling out an online application, which will be your only chance to make an initial impression with the prospective employer. That being the case, it’s important that you put your best foot forward and represent yourself fully and to the best of your ability. 

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

•        Understand the job you are applying for. Be sure you have read the job description and know what’s expected in the role.

•        Apply only for jobs that you want and are truly interested in. Don’t blanket the job universe with applications hoping you’ll get picked for one. It’s too much work, you won’t be focused, and if you do land a position there’s a good chance you won’t like it, making it a waste of everyone's time.

•        Connect your experience, skills and strengths with the requirements of the job. Even if you don’t have prior work experience, you can connect similar experiences in school, sports, interests, and organizations to demonstrate that you have skills that will be valuable in the posted position.

•        Fill out the application completely and make sure there are no errors that can be perceived as sloppy.  Prior to applying for any job, print off an application and practice by completing it. Have someone review your finished product. Use it as a template when applying for other jobs.

•        Make sure that the contact information you supply is the quickest and easiest way to contact you. If the potential employer can't get in touch with you, they may move on to fill the position with the next best candidate.

•        Provide references and clear contact information for them, especially in lieu of previous work experience. Advise your references that will likely hear from perspective employers and ask for their support.

•        If the application allows you to attach a resume, use it but also fully complete the application. Software issues can often distort written document attachments so relying on that method may limit the employer’s ability to fully understand what you have to offer.

•        Be honest. Never pad your resume by embellishing the truth to make you sound more qualified than you really are. The consequences of stretching the truth can lead to termination and lasting damage to your career.

Getting the job you want can require some perseverance and considerable effort, but in the end you‘ll find that the effort you put into it will yield dividends in the form of a job, and ultimately a career, that's rewarding.

Special thanks to Sprague Energy for offering these tips and tools for students and recent grads looking to apply for jobs here in Maine. JA's middle school program "It's My Future" also seeks to provide practical information to students preparing for the working world. Sign up today to teach this topic to Maine students this upcoming school year! 


Guest Blog: Q&A with Senator Susan Collins

Maine Senator Susan Collins answers questions about her experience growing up in Northern Maine and how her work ethic and education shaped her into the person she is today.

What was your first job when you were a teenager?

One of my first jobs growing up in Caribou was picking potatoes for a local farmer.  I share the pride Mainers have in our potato industry, which has been a major contributor to the economy of The County and our state.  Later, I worked throughout high school at the Caribou Public Library.  One of my early jobs was reading to children during Story Hour.  I learned at that early age that encouraging children to read is an investment in our children's education and, ultimately, an investment in the future of our country. 

As a native of The County, I am fortunate to have learned the values of hard work, determination, innovation, and common sense.  These values have served me well during my time in the Senate. 

What was your most difficult hurdle on your path to become Senator – what inspired you not to give up?

Both of my parents served as mayor of my hometown of Caribou.  My father was in the State Legislature, and my mother chaired countless boards, from the University of Maine System Trustees to Catholic Charities of Maine.  Moreover, in high school, I had the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., as a member of the U.S. Senate Youth Program.  There I had a long and inspiring meeting with the legendary Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the House and the Senate.  My parents’ example and my meeting with Senator Smith impressed upon me the importance of public service.

In 1994, I took my first shot at elected office and ran for governor.  I won a tough eight-way primary but got clobbered in the general election, finishing third out of four candidates.  Two years later, then-Senator Bill Cohen announced would that he would not seek re-election.  I received many calls from supporters urging me to run.  I’ll never forget the woman who told me she hadn’t voted for me in the gubernatorial race but wanted another chance because I’d been such a “gracious loser.”

Part of me said I couldn’t do it, couldn’t afford it, and couldn’t keep starting over. Another part of me said I couldn’t see myself at 85, sitting in my rocking chair by the fire, muttering “If only...” Happily, that part of me won the argument.  I went on to win that primary, and on election night that November, I was the one celebrating. I am deeply grateful for the trust the people of Maine placed in me then and in my three re-election campaigns since.

Senator Susan Collins was born and raised in Caribou, Maine, where her family runs a fifth-generation lumber business, founded by her ancestors in 1844. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of St. Lawrence University, she is married to Thomas A. Daffron and resides in Bangor, Maine.

JA thanks Senator Collins for her advice on living and working in Maine. We encourage all Mainers to help support our youth - click here to learn more about volunteering to teach students about financial literacy, work readiness, and entrepreneurship in a classroom near you! 


Laureate Spotlight: Dana Connors


JA loves supporting entrepreneurs‬ especially here in Maine! June's "Laureate Spotlight" is Dana Connors, President, Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Dana was honored at our 2014 Maine Business Hall of Fame. 

“Maine's rich history, vibrant communities, and unparalleled work ethic make our state a fabulous place to work and live…Rest assured - while you are working hard to make a living, we at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce are also hard at work supporting your ambition, tenacity, and Yankee ingenuity. Together, the voice of Maine business is strong and clear.” - Dana Connors

Watch a brief video showcasing Dana's impact here in Maine. 



Machias Savings Bank: "Tips for Teaching A Child To Save"

Machias Savings Bank: Tips for Teaching A Child To Save

Melissa Moffett

Vice President, Customer Service 

My young son recently opened a birthday present from his grandmother which included a bag full of coins and dollar bills with a hand-written note stating, “For your piggy bank”.  After contemplating what app he could buy with his new found treasure, he asked, “What’s a piggy bank?” 

In a world of online payments, debit cards and smart phones, the plastic pig represents a bygone era.  It can be difficult to teach children the value of a dollar and the concept of saving without physically exchanging currency.  We at Machias Savings Bank partner with Junior Achievement to help mentor children in Maine on the importance of savings, bringing real world applications and lessons to children of all ages.   

If you are looking for practical ways to help kids prepare for financial success, consider these 10 tips:

  1. Start a college fund.  Instead of buying toys, ask relatives to contribute to their college fund whenever possible.
  2. Take kids to the bank with you. This will help them gain the basic knowledge of depositing and withdrawing money as well as the many other types of transactions that can be made when in a bank.
  3. Give kids an allowance.  Have kids do things around the house for you that are tied to a small allowance. This will teach them about earning money, saving it and even making their own purchases!
  4. Get their money organized for them.  Use different jars and give them titles such as savings, spending, sharing and investing. This helps them understand the different ways that money can be organized and used.
  5. Help your kids find simple jobs to earn money.  Whether it is babysitting, mowing lawns or washing cars, teaching them the value of a dollar is very important.
  6. Take them grocery shopping.  Tell them what your budget is and have them help you make decisions about what you need based on that budget!
  7. Make a financial plan when they get their first job.  When your child lands their first job, it is important for you to sit down with them and discuss how they will be using their money. Make a certain percentage of their money go into a savings account. This will teach them smart strategies for using their money in the future.
  8. Research college costs as well as scholarships.  Moving out of the house and attending college can be very expensive! It is important for your child to understand this. Look at colleges, tuition costs and scholarships with them before their senior year of high school.
  9. Talk to your children about what credit is.  Good credit is not earned overnight! Make sure your child understands the implications of accumulating debt and aim to pay off their monthly balance in full.
  10. Save their graduation money.  After graduating high school, a student may receive a large sum of money from relatives and friends congratulating them on their success. Instead of buying something with this money, have them save it!

Machias Savings Bank also participates in Teach a Child to Save Day, a nationwide community bank effort to raise a generation of savers.  On April 29, you can stop by any of our locations and open a Kid’s Club savings account* and we will match your opening deposit up to $10! This account has no fees, is interest bearing and receives a monthly statement. Kids will also receive a birthday card as well as four fun newsletters throughout the year that include financial education!

*Our Kid’s Club savings account is designed for kids 12 and under. Member FDIC. 

What is JA?

What is the number one reason students drop out of school? They don't see the importance or relevance of what they are learning. Junior Achievement, also known as "JA", seeks to solve this issue by encouraging students to make connections between what they are learning in school and what they can become in the future.


Were you lucky enough to have JA as a student? I hope so. It amazes me the number of people I've met throughout my life that have a JA story to tell; most of the time they remember the volunteer in a suit who taught their class or the hands-on activity that stuck with them the most. It could have been a classmate's parent that took the time to volunteer or a business leader from the community — talk about a relevant impact! That is what JA is all about; bringing a business professional into the classroom to teach hands-on activities associated with workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy.


I often get the question, "How do you teach these concepts in elementary and middle school?" Well, it's easier than you think! In elementary school, we simply introduce basic concepts of money and jobs. Why is it important to save your money? What is a job, and why do you need one? My favorite activity in the first grade program, "JA Our Families," is when students learn the differences between needs and wants. The volunteer holds up flash cards of objects: a bike, an apartment, a video game, etc., and students have to decide whether the card represents a need or a want. There is usually a lot of debate between 1st graders, but when they begin to grasp the concept that things you need are things necessary for survival, that's when you can see the lightbulb go off in their head.


In middle school, JA introduces students to high-growth career opportunities. We explain the importance of soft skills, and branding yourself, and how to make an educated choice. Students learn that brands aren't just reserved for designer clothes and fancy cars — they themselves are a brand. The way they present themselves and act in an interview, on social media, and on their resume says a lot about them as a person and potential employee. In the middle school program, "JA It's My Future", students work in pairs to identify their best attributes and what others would recognize as their best qualities. Students then create their own logo that represents their personal brand.


The JA high school programs focus on teaching students the importance of personal finance and saving. They also learn valuable skills such as how to write a resume, act in an interview, and chose a career path. In the program, "JA Career Success," one of the lessons asks the students to pretend that they are hiring for a position within their company. They are given a series of resumes, cover letters and Facebook profiles to scan over. In a group, the students discuss which candidate is the best fit for the position and why. The activity aims to get students thinking about how social media can play a role in getting into college or landing an important interview. 


JA is all about bringing relevant, real work activities to students so they understand that the choices they make today can impact their future. JA volunteers come from all walks of life, but they all have a common vision: sharing a message of hope and opportunity with each and every young person they reach. They are committed to the idea that as a community, we have a responsibility to ensure this generation is better prepared for professional and success. JA volunteers inspire, prepare and empower. If you have not volunteered for JA yet, I challenge you to step out of your comfort zone and try it. You could be inspiring the minds of Maine's next successful entrepreneurs! 


You can sign up to teach a JA class now!

Second Annual Maine App Challenge

This is a guest post by Dana Staples, a software engineer at Tyler Technologies. 
Tyler Technologies' second annual Maine App Challenge is just getting underway and we would like YOU to check it out. This contest is for high school students 13 years of age and older, who are Maine residents, to create and present a mobile app of their own design for a chance to win one of three scholarships totaling $10,000. And no essay required! Additionally, the first 5 completed entries automatically win an Android Tablet!
It all starts with an idea! Consider a need in your community or school, what might be helpful to your classmates or your neighbors.  From there an app is born... you can help solve this problem using technology.  There are free, easy to use building block tools to create apps, such as MIT App Inventor, or you can code from scratch, the choice is yours.  You can do this in teams of up to 3 people, so team up with a friend or two and have fun designing an app and creating a video for submission. 
It’s our hope that the app challenge will encourage high school students to explore the world of app design, which might then turn a simple curiosity into a college major, internship and eventual career in the Maine computer science and technology industry.
Tyler Technologies looks for people with customer service and technical skills.  Positions we often recruit for are Technical Support Specialists, Implementation Consultants and Software Developers.  Technical Support specialists provide troubleshooting and problem resolution to our clients.   Software Developers work through all phases of the software development life cycle, including research, design, analysis, requirements, implementation, testing and maintenance. Our developers enhance, modify, integrate and develop applications for Tyler’s Munis® software — a financial, HRIS and utility billing application used by local governments and school districts throughout the U.S.  Implementation Consultants provide consultation and training to our clients.  Implementation Consultants establish a positive baseline for the relationship between the client and Tyler and supports the project plan timeline and schedule.
Here’s the link to our careers page on our website in case you want to add some things from this page about who we are/who we serve.  Let me know if you need anything else or would like to meet.  http://www.tylertech.com/careers
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If you would like more information on Donating, Volunteering, JA Programs, or other ways to partner with us, please give us a call at (207) 347-4333 or email us!