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Piedmont Augusta Named Official Healthcare Sponsor of New Junior Achievement Discovery Center

Evans, Ga. (January 11, 2024) – More than 200 local community and government leaders gathered today to celebrate the grand opening of the Junior Achievement (JA) Discovery Center of the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA.)

The JA Discovery Center of the CSRA is a partnership between JA of Georgia and the school districts of Richmond and Columbia counties to create immersive simulations of students' hometowns to teach them practical life skills. In BizTown, sponsored by Piedmont Augusta, JA’s official healthcare partner, sixth graders take on the role of company employee, taxpayer and consumer. In Finance Park, seventh graders participate in scenarios in which they create and maintain a household budget. More than 15,000 middle school students will experience the curriculum each year.

Lily Henson, M.D., Piedmont Augusta Chief Executive Officer, said partnering to bring the JA Discovery Center to the CSRA aligns with Piedmont’s focus on empowering communities and workforce development.

“Piedmont believes in creating real change by partnering with organizations to empower communities through education,” Henson explained. “The Discovery Center also affords us the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of students by demonstrating the many rewarding careers in healthcare across all skill sets.”

The local Discovery Center is a 30,000-square-foot facility with "storefronts" joining Piedmont Augusta to represent various businesses and organizations, including Delta, Chick-fil-A, The Family YMCA, Publix SRP Federal Credit Union, United Way and Lexus. Each Discovery Center is different, including architecture and themes unique to their communities. There is also a town hall where students learn about civics and voting, eventually voting among themselves for the mayor of their town. This is the sixth JA Discovery Center in Georgia, joining more than 30 across the country.

Piedmont Augusta has also committed to providing staff to volunteer as facilitators and mentors to students throughout the year during the virtual finance community curriculum.

Junior Achievement’s lessons in financial literacy, work, career readiness and entrepreneurship are shown to positively impact the lives of young people, explained John Hancock, JA of Georgia Chief Executive Officer. These lessons align with national and state educational standards and are delivered to millions of students across the country with the help of JA education partners and volunteers from the local community, he said.

“Junior Achievement’s purpose is to give young people a window into their futures through authentic real-world experiences that fuel their fascination and make their worlds come alive,” Hancock said, during the Jan. 11 ribbon-cutting ceremony. “The promise of education is to prepare the youngest of our citizens for choice-filled lives where they may thrive filled with hope and aspiration, pursuing the potential of who they may become. The responsibility of that lies with all of us.”

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