Imagine your dream job.
Now imagine if you could spend the afternoon with someone who has it.
That's exactly what members of the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative did last week for the 2nd annual Job Shadow Day. They aspire to become green architects, economists, green engineers, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, environmental scientists, farmers and even a small farm lobbyist.
Each February, the National Groundhog Job Shadow Day gives young people a new perspective on their studies through hands-on learning and a one-day mentoring experience. It is a joint effort of America's Promise - Alliance for Youth, Junior Achievement, and the U.S. Department of Labor. Nationwide, more than one million students and 100,000 businesses participate, and more than 2,000 restaurants and hotels hosted nearly 20,000 students. The Martha's Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative's parent, the Stone Soup Leadership Institute is a founding partner.
"MVYLI's Job Shadow Day was a huge success," said Doris Clark, MVYLI Advisory Council member. "I visited most students at their worksites and could see the light bulb in their heads turn on as they connected getting an education and the world of work. This is an experience they will cherish for a lifetime." As MVRHS School-to-Work Coordinator in the late 1990's, Doris organized Job Shadow Day -- and attended the Institute's first leadership training in 1999 at the West Tisbury School.
At the reception at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital,youth and their mentors received certificates and shared their experiences.
For Jacob Lawrence, traveling to Boston to shadow Brian Billsback at Pricewaterhouse Coopers. "Itwas the best day of my life!" He got to talk to a whole section of PWC working on a special project. "When I asked a question, I got a 30-minute answer instead of a quick yes or no," he said. "I am so sure now, that I want to be in the financial world. MVYLI has given me great insight into my future."
Some found their match was a perfect fit."It was great being part of MVYLI Job Shadow Day, mentoring Sivana Brown. It's a wonderful community program!" says Robert Ripley Jr. Executive Vice President, Martha's Vineyard Financial Group, a division of MV Savings Bank which was a sponsor of this year's program. "Mr. Ripley was an amazing person to shadow," says Sivana. "He helped me to be more certain about what I really want to do in college, which is finance. I learned there are many different services in the financial career like Investment Management, Trust Services, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning, and lots more. I am thankful that MVYLI had giving me this opportunity."
"When my mentor starting getting into the technical details," says Cerina Gordon. "I thought to myself, 'Wow, I know THIS is for me!'" Her mentor, Brian Nelson, Nelson Mechanical Engineering says, "I am very excited about Cerina's interest in green engineering because at no other time in human history has engineering been more important than right now."
Julia Cooper's first choice was South Mountain. "Ryan Bushey was totally cool and really nice. I learned about the real life of an architect and how South Mountain focuses on environmentally friendly building practices. I got to see my interests culminate in the field of green architecture as a career I want to pursue in college, she says. "MVYLI has helped me a lot to open a bunch of doors and see my potential as a leader and where I can go with all of the wonderful things the future has to bring."
Some youth decided this career option might not be for them. Better to know now - than after four years of college. "I really admire that Eric and Molly Glasgow are working so hard to provide a local source of meat and dairy products for the Island," says Eva Faber. "It was a privilege to learn about how they operate The Grey Barn and Farm. It is so impressive," adding "I learned that it's even harder work than I thought to run a profitable farm, and that is something I'll have to think about if I ever consider that lifestyle." Even after spending an afternoon herding very cute piglets, Andrew Randall still aspires to become a farmer.
Emma, Cerina, Andrew and Eva are creating MVYLI's Sustainable Vineyard Map & 2020 Report Project. The MVYLI Project originated in response to the lack of Vineyard youth involvement in the MV Commission's Island Plan. This is a unique opportunity for Vineyard youth to be involved with visioning and planning for their collective future. This spring they will present it to the Town of Tisbury Selectmen, the first island town to vote to be a Green Community. They will then present it to the All Island Selectmen and the Rotary Club of Martha's Vineyard. It gives us all hope that these future leaders are committed to building a more sustainable world.
Some MVYLI youth tried a different career this year. Last year Shelby Ferry shadowed psychologist Karen Krowski and decided it wasn't for her. This year, she was matched with nurse Libby Rocklin at Windemere Nursing & Rehabilitation Center. "Nursing is something I really want to do," says Shelby adding, "maybe an emergency room/trauma nurse and or even program abroad."
Last year Je'Vaughn Crooks shadowed Pat Gregory at Educomp. This year, the MVRHS football player thought he'd try physical therapy and was matched with Judy Athearn at MV Hospital's Rehabilitation & Wellness."I was fascinated to learnhow they use math with measuring as well as physics, chemistry and other sciences," says Je'Vaughn. "They love to see their patients' improvement because it shows they're actually helping them."
It all begins in late June with MVYLI's annual Youth Leadership Summit. For one week, youth work along-side Vineyard community leaders, MVYLI alumni, the Institute's faculty and seasoned youth leaders to clarify their dreams and develop an action plan to realize them. During the school year they work with the College Prep & Field Trip Program; as media interns at MVTV; serve as representatives to the Governor's Youth Council and at national conferences like Bioneers-by-the-Bay. They develop their writing and speaking skills, make presentations at the NAACP's Juneteenth Conference and the Institute's Annual Walter Cronkite Awards Ceremony.
It's not always easy to know what we want to become. In today's economy, those young people who have more clarity increase their odds to succeed - and get a job.
Shavanae Anderson has always wanted to become a pediatrician. Last year, she and her sister Amoy and friend Shawna Brown were matched with Barbara Morgan at the Martha's Vineyard Hospital's Radiology Department. This year, she is thrilled to be with pediatrician Dr. Melanie Miller.
"I learned so much -- how to check infants when they are first born: their color and the size of their head," said Shavanae. "At regular check ups, she gives immunizations, checks their eyes, ears and reflexes; and writes an entry about how each child is doing and when they need to come back again. I had the chance to bond with some children, which was fun. I read to them while they were waiting. That helped calm one baby when she was getting her shot. I really enjoyed it."
Some expand what's even possible. Last year Emma HallBilsBack was matched with Jon Previant at The Farm Institute. After learning about the challenges facing small farmers, she asked to be matched with a small farm lobbyist this year. Early in January Emma traveled to Boston to work alongside Brad Mitchell, Director of Government Relations for the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation where she learned about pending legislation affecting small farmers and met with State Senator Dan Wolf. Emma then invited her mentor to the Job Shadow Day reception and helped MVYLI organize the successful Martha's Vineyard Farmers' Roundtable, hosted by The Farm Institute.
Some are in just awe. "Being matched with Rose Styron was an amazing experience," says Bella El-Deiry. The stories she has traveled to make me want to pursue my dream career. I only hope, that one day I will be able to share my stories to others as she does today." Rose responded, "I am very pleased to be asked to be part of this wonderful Martha's Vineyard program which prepares youth for what they want to do, particularly in my field of international relations."
"Bella's Job Shadow Day with Rose Styron, chairwoman of Amnesty International, was truly inspiring," says her mother Rebekah El-Deiry. "She coached her on colleges, interning and other steps to enter the world of foreign affairs and diplomacy." She added, "MVYLI has helped expose and prepare Bella for the big world. She has met leaders and learned that she CAN make a difference. From college trips early in her junior year, SAT coaching and weekly workshops, I am grateful for all this exposure. It's something I simply couldn't have done without MVYLI."
"What a wonderful experience for both mentors and mentees," said MVYLI Program Director, Rebecca Rabeni. "It was amazing to see the dedication and passion in the student's eyes when they were reminiscing on their day. It made me wish that I had this opportunity when I was their age and certainly would want my own children to experience it."
We're grateful to all those who shared their time, talents and resources. Their investment is making a big difference in these young lives.
Great effort on you and your team's part in making the
Job Shadow Day an integral part of the high school experience.
I want you to know your part in bringing this to fruition for the
students is appreciated on so many levels.
Patti Leighton, Martha's Vineyard Savings Bank