By: Lydia Kotowski (volunteer/college student)
One of the many lessons Family Scholar House (FSH) teaches is that post secondary education is an incredibly important step on the path to achieving big dreams. As a current college student and believer in the transformative power of education, I whole-heartedly agree with that statement. The 2nd Annual Career Academy, hosted by FSH, strove to share this idea, in addition to many others, with kids from FSH families. At this camp, 20 kids aged six-18 learned about different career and college opportunities while simultaneously talking about and establishing their own goals for the future.
On the first day of camp, the kids had the opportunity to experience an art therapy session that helped them to identify their passions and goals. During this activity, the kids shared their feelings about current political debates, social issues, and personal goals articulately and professionally. I was blown away by the depth of their knowledge and evidence-based supports for their beliefs. Later during the same day, mentors from a variety of fields came in and took part in a “speed mentoring” session. During this component, I conversed with kids about college applications, study habits, and graduate school opportunities. Once the kids learned that I am in the process of preparing for law school, the future lawyers and social activists among the kids held back nothing when talking about how and why they want to change the world we live in. All the mentors who took part in this experience could see the curiosity and ingenuity brimming in each kid.
In the subsequent days, the kids went on field trips to four sites around Louisville; these included the University of Louisville, EOP Architects, Bellarmine University, and Red e App. Through these excursions, the kids got to see what college campuses are like, to learn what levels of education are needed for various careers, and to explore different careers. This year, the careers the kids were exposed to included architecture, the arts, athletics, medicine, safety work, technology, education, and agriculture. At all of these sites, the kids took pictures and videos, asked questions, and acted in an incredibly mature and professional manner.
At the end of the week, the kids had the chance to take their pictures and videos to the technology company Red e App and learn how to make iMovies. It was the hands-on learning experiences like this that really got the kids excited and invested in each site visit. From interacting with robots to building towers out of toothpicks and marshmallows to walking around campuses, the kids were able to have exciting new experiences. I loved getting to help them problem-solve and be creative with each challenge they were presented with. The intelligence of the kids really stood out during these interactive activities
When reflecting on what they learned, the kids shared many statements including: “technology is a way of life”; “I should decide what I want to do in my life before or in college”; “be positive”; “that going to college is important”; “if you do something, keep your mind on it.” Even though the camp was just five days in length, it seemed to have a real impact on the kids, volunteers, and businesses that took part in it. The camp was such a unique and important experience for the kids to have, and I am humbled to have gotten to be a small piece of it.