Recently I have had the distinct pleasure of interacting with junior high and high school students in a couple of different settings. The first was at a job fair in Fairbanks about a month ago. One of the local high schools had brought some students to the job fair in order to ask questions and learn more about agencies within their fields of interest. The high school students that I interacted with asked great questions, were articulate, and I think they would make great future additions to any mental health/social services type of agency they might try to work at. One student shared with me a little bit about her background in foster care and her desire to help out other kids from similar situations. Her story reminded me of why we do the work that we do, and the positive impact that we strive to have in the lives of the young people that we serve.
Upon my return to Anchorage (and business as usual) I received letters from a couple of the high school students I had spoken to thanking me for my time and speaking to them and outlining what they liked about my explanation of AK Child & Family. Aside from the fact that it was completely adorable, I was tickled pink and very impressed by receiving those letters.
Today, Wednesday, March 25, 2015, myself and a coworker conducted a presentation for a Career Adventures Course at one of the local Junior High Schools. Our presentation consisted of a group activity and a group discussion afterward, similar to the types of group activities we might do with a group of students in AK Child & Family. The activity was students being blindfolded and guided through an obstacle course by their peers. At intervals, we would add additional limitations or challenges. In the group discussion we asked questions about the students’ experiences while being blindfolded or giving instructions, and questions about what difficulties they experienced when we added additional limitations (on top of the blindfolds). I was very impressed with the engagement level of the students but also some of the insightful answers they provided, assuming that most of them haven’t had adverse life experiences like those of the youth we serve.
The greatest pleasure that I get out of these types of interactions and opportunities is that I get to see a glimpse of some of our future workforce, as well as plant the seed for them to see how rewarding it can be to work in the mental health / social services field and also for them to see how great it would be to work at AK Child & Family when they are eligible.