“Business Buddies” program uses area businesses to expose Anderson Elementary students to career options

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An elementary school in Southwest Missouri is introducing students to careers they can choose from when they get older.

“They see me now as high school students and middle school students, ‘Hey that was our business buddy! Hi! Hi, Mr. Jent how are you?'” explained Business Buddy Aaron Jent. “They see me out at the events, at local events, sporting events, and they remember you.”

Jent is a part of the Business Buddies program at Anderson Elementary School. Once a month for nine years, Jent goes to the elementary school and spends time with students, teaching them about his career as the Vice President of McDonald County Telephone Company.

As a Business Buddy, he encourages kids to think about what they can be when they grow up.

“It’s such an important part of our community’s future that as a business person, we want to have employees that have a good education,” Jent added. “We want to start off from day one trying to get them looking at the community as a positive, not as a negative.’

Representatives from different businesses partner with a classroom and do various activities, from reading to the children, eating lunch, and doing hands-on projects.

The businesses involved range from banks to beauty salons.

“To let the kids know what careers are out there, plus what would be a great way to let the business people know that we appreciate them and not just be asking them for donations of things, but we want them to come into the school and we want to get to know them and we want the kids to get to recognize them,” explained Becky Shelley with Anderson Elementary School.

“It also allows for our community members to show how they’re life-long learners and that learning isn’t just at school, but that education is an important part of their lives even as adults,” added Principal Sarah Messley.

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