How do we get middle school students thinking about their futures and exploring careers?
In middle school, most students are worried about adolescent things...friends, clothes, video games, etc. They are going through lots of changes physically and mentally. Yet, they are making decisions that affect which career path they will take. What they do in middle school affects which classes they take in high school and therefore training, certifications, or college degrees after they graduate. How do we help them learn to have hope, aspirations, and increase resiliency...to set goals and meet those goals?
Career Mentors can be a huge help in this area. Mentors meet with students, share career information, their own career pathways, their struggles, and are role models for our students. I have been mentoring middle grade students at the Boys and Girls Club. After a semester of career related activities we decided to do something different. I partnered with Geoff Schenkel from REsolve Studios, and Garret Scott, Teen Leader at the Boys and Girls Club, to develop a project for the students. Together we are helping the kids create a book that will eventually be included in the REsolve Studios Clubhouse Exhibit. Through the book, students have the opportunity to express themselves about their future career hopes, about the things they like, and about the things that are important to them.
Geoff, Garret, and I have been helping students translate their hopes and dreams into something concrete, for without hope for the future, there is no power in the present. Some really neat pages have been created so far. The kids will continue to contribute and will be a part of the process as it evolves and grows. Without the Career Mentor program, this book would not have begun. We are excited to see what form it will take and how the students are able to express themselves about a variety of subjects. Stay tuned...