Cash flows to those who claim it |

Cash flows to those who claim it

From left, Red Sandstone Elementary School students Hugo Chaparro, Noel Dominguez and Tony Arenales experienced first-hand what it takes to run a business at Young AmeriTowne. They ran a container shop.

DENVER, Colorado – Local fifth graders learned that Benjamins are your buddy.

Red Hill Elementary School sent students to Young AmeriTowne for a hands-on lesson in free enterprise.

Students and teachers worked weeks preparing, learned some basic economics, and matched their skills with the jobs available.

You learn about economics by living it, said Allison Hansen, a fifth-grade teacher at Red Hill.

“It takes three weeks of preparation before students attend a day at Young AmeriTowne,” Hansen said. “Students participate in job interviews, elect officials, learn how to budget and balance a check book before visiting Young AmeriTowne.”

Support Local Journalism

Young AmeriTowne, like all free enterprise, is based on goods and services exchanged for currency. It’s built around a classic town square, bordered by Success Street, Penny Lane, Profit Point and Banking Boulevard.

It’s 17 businesses where students take on careers that will work together in order to make the town successful.

From bank managers balance books, police officers keep the peace, to the DJ on the radio station and news crews capture the action, the students learned how they and their jobs depend on one another.

“The free enterprise system is the eighth wonder of the world,” says Colorado philanthropist Bill Daniels, who helped found the program. “Teaching young people to be active participants is our responsibility for its preservation.”

Cash flows in and out, like the tide. Deadlines matter and must be met.

Junk food sells well because it’s instant gratification. Investments were a little harder to move. The snack shop sells soft drinks and ice cream. The prices go up as the supply goes down.

If you feel sick or get hurt, you go to the medical center. If you don’t, they can assign you an ailment. The ambulance cannot fetch you while you’re working, being a productive citizen.

“This is such a wonderful experience for our students,” said Jill Pappas, Red Hill principal. “We greatly appreciate the support we receive from our community in order to offer these lessons to our students.”

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

Support Local Journalism