Contact: Lori Willis

Director of Communications


April 11, 2005

Schnucks Associates Head Back to the Classroom to Benefit Junior Achievement

ST. LOUIS - On Tuesday, April 12, 73 associates from 34 area Schnucks stores will leave their jobs as checkers, bakers, florists, store managers and co-managers and enter classrooms as volunteers in Junior Achievement's (JA's) new FastTrack, one-day delivery education program.

Schnucks workers will be in contact with more than 700 students in four area schools: Mason Elementary in St. Louis, House Springs Intermediate in Northwest R-1 and Arch Diocese schools St. John's in Imperial and St. Norbert's in Florissant. Volunteers will be arriving about 8:15 and teaching until about 2:30 at each school give or take 30 minutes.

Melanie Palmer, vice-president of education for JA, says, "In addition to the supplemental education we offer through JA's traditional five to 15-week courses, we have a growing core of FastTrack volunteers who are participating for the first time in this one-day delivery program."

She added, "This program is an accelerated version of our K-8 programs, but the commitment is just five hours on one day rather than spread out over several weeks. It's a more flexible schedule that has enabled more volunteers from the business world to participate."

Schnucks, a company whose leaders have been long-time supporters of JA, is one of approximately eight businesses that are supplying volunteers to blitz designated schools in several geographical regions throughout metropolitan St Louis.

Grandview Schnucks Store Manager Scott Russo is coordinating the company's effort. Russo has been a Schnucks associate for 28 years and a store manager for 10. Fifteen years ago he became active in JA and he has seen the program evolve as the needs of children have changed. Russo said, "Our program today is designed to fill any gaps in information that the schools don't necessarily offer such as interviewing for jobs and starting your own business."

"These are skills that the late Don Schnuck (company co-founder) really felt helped to develop an entrepreneurial spirit within our young people," Russo explained. "Don thought this type of early teaching was key to their success. If we had enough volunteers to ensure that children could have access to JA from kindergarten through 12th grade, I believe they would be more prepared to face the real world upon graduation."

"It prepares children for real life by giving them basic tools that they might not get in core courses like social studies, science and math. We help give them real world tools like how to manage a checkbook, understand a blue print and read a newspaper," said Russo.

Russo's own children (13, 15 and 16) have benefited from JA. His eldest child, Adam, a bagger at the Schackelford Schnucks, said, "I really enjoyed the JA experience, but it wasn't until we made business cards that I really got to thinking about possible job opportunities for the future."

Palmer says as the program is rolled out to more schools, additional volunteers will be needed for both the traditional and the one-day programs. "JA will continue to offer the traditional five-week program for grade school students and a new 6-week program for middle schoolers, but thanks to FastTrack, there is now a way to involve more volunteers on a short-term basis."

According to Russo, the JA volunteers don't require any special skill set because the programs are simple to teach. "The only talent you really need is the ability to communicate with children. Once you volunteer, JA will teach you the rest," he said.

Other Junior Achievement FastTrack sponsors include MasterCard, J. C. Penney, PricewaterhouseCoopers, United Parcel Services, General Electric, Reuters and others.

Founded in St. Louis in 1939, Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 102 stores (including five Logli stores) and 97 pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Mississippi. The family-owned company ranks 94th in the Forbes magazine listing of the nation's "Largest Private Companies."

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Found a direct correlation between success of marketing students and Junior Achievement...Name Daniel Tormala statistician who does testing data, 636-994-4005...

636-851-4028 Claudia Giele

Melanie Palmer, JA, 636-728-0707

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