Young Professionals Guide Career Exploration for Kids
Mercy Home is often referred to as a “port in the storm” for kids in crisis. But even in our earliest days, we’ve prized preparing our young people for the future while providing them with the safety they need in the short term. A critical part of that preparation is encouraging them to explore meaningful careers. Thankfully, young professionals serving on our Associate Board bring a wide variety of experiences and insights to the task, as they did in a recent Post Secondary Options (PSO) Night at Mercy Home.
The event was designed to educate our kids about a variety of specific occupations, the schooling required for each, the salary expectations, and the responsibilities involved.
“This year [the Associate Board] talked to our youth about in-demand jobs that will benefit everyone,” said Associate Board Liaison Edgar Zavala, who works in Mercy Home’s fundraising department.
“[It was important for the kids] to engage, see what the Home can provide for them, what they like, and what the world needs from them,” Zavala said.
After each board member spoke about different roles such as a nurse practitioner, a sports journalist, a pastry chef, and several others, our kids participated in a fun activity that was modeled after each. Following the presentation on nurse practitioners, for example, our young people played the classic board game Operation.
Youth also took part in a relay race, a basketball competition, a Lego-building activity, and more. They even made a TikTok dance.
“I think the committee put together a really nice program that the kids related to,” Mercy Home’s Director of Affiliated Constituencies Rita McGovern said. “It kept them engaged and the activities were fun, interesting, and challenging.”
Lisa Brzezicki, an Associate Board member, said it was her second time volunteering in the event.
“I love seeing how the kids react and how much fun they have,” she said. “Even if it’s just one person hat seems interested in the topic we’re talking about, that’s nice.”
Even the opportunity to interact with adult professionals in a social yet structured activity benefited our kids, particularly our young women who were inspired by accomplished women in various fields.
“It’s nice for them to see female role models,” Karla Salgado, a youth care worker said. “It’s good to see these female role models to give them that push or incentive to believe that they can be there too.”
McGovern added, “the Associate Board is closer in age to our kids than our other boards and I think our kids can relate to them better, especially when it comes to speaking about jobs.”
Helping bridge that age gap even more, our young people watched a video from a recent former Mercy Home resident who is completing college in California and embarking on a career in the tech field.
In the end, PSO Night was also another chance for our young people to build strong peer relationships and teamwork as they worked on activities together.