• An Impact: Career Professionals & Club Teens

    by Noah Sandel | Jessica Dunson

    On July 10, 2019, professional volunteers from across Indianapolis and our Club members gathered together at Ivy Tech Culinary & Conference Center to kick off our 5th Annual Take a Boy/Girl to Work Day event. The event began in the late morning with our Club members participating in career building activities with our BGCI team members. At noon, eager local professionals arrived on Ivy Tech’s campus, networking amongst each other before breaking off to meet their mentees.

    Club teens participating in Career building activities while local professional volunteers network

    Take a Boy/Girl to Work Day began in 2016 as “Take a Girl to Work Day” in celebration of 25 years since Boys Clubs of Indianapolis became Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis. The annual event connects Club members with professionals amid their careers, both in the public and private sectors with varying fields of interest. The ultimate goal of the day is to expose pre-teen and teenage members to new career possibilities that our members would not be able to experience otherwise. Since its inception, hundreds of Club teens have spent a day with a professional at their job sites, giving our members a first-hand experience in the work field. This event doesn’t only leave an impact on our Club members but also the volunteers.

    After the conclusion of our 5th Annual Take a Boy/Girl to Work Day, we spoke with several of those directly impacted by the event. They agree they would’ve missed out on a great opportunity to be affected in such a positive manner if they hadn’t participated. We talked with longtime Club member Francisco “Cisco”, Republic Airways volunteer and intern, Jared Becraft, club member Kiley, and Jennifer Vigran, of Second Helpings, about their perspective on the Day.

    Cisco has been a member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis “for as long as he can remember”. Cisco’s favorite activity at the Club is basketball. Carrying his playing pair in his backpack, a set of Nike Kyrie Flytrap II (clover-print), he whipped them out and showed them to us. Jared was a summer intern in the Compensation department and is a double-major student at the University of Kentucky in finance and accounting. He didn’t anticipate partaking in our event, but he said would’ve missed out on a great opportunity to impact the lives of our youth.

    Club member Cisco and his mentor Jared of Republic Airways

    When questioned what the experience held to him and kids like him, Cisco commented with what we enjoy hearing: New experiences.

    “It went really well because I got to do stuff with some new people. I learned lots of things like how to use a steering wheel in an airplane [simulator] and [use] the brakes. It’s good because it gives a lot of people the experience…”

    Airplane simulator at Republic Airways

    When asked what he witnessed during our event and how it changed him and the youth, Jared was excited to see opportunities blossom in the eyes of our youth.

    “I think it went really well! [I got to] kind of show them around. It’s kind of cool just to see the excitement of new experience that he had and honestly, for him, a career path in the future.”

    Continuing with the conversation, we wondered if he’d recommend our Day to others.

    “I [would] 100% recommend getting involved. I bonded with some of the other interns and got to know them better [by] showing these young men around and introducing them to the new things within the airline, whether it be like planes or just really what we do as a company. Across the board, for any company, I say get involved!”

    With that answer, he would rate it highly. On what it means for companies to get involved if they had the chance, Jared believes it is essential for them to find themselves in community outreach and volunteering.

    “It’s cool to be a part of that and represent what Republic means, not only to me , but try to show these guys what it’s like working for a company like Republic that holds so dear to themselves community involvement and how giving back can help, not only someone and give them a new perspective, but give yourself a new perspective about how many people don’t know certain career paths that are so close to them.”

    After hearing these conclusions about Take a Boy/Girl to Work Day, we held curiosity set to be unraveled on whether it was truly as successful and fulfilling as this mentee/mentor group had claimed. We turned to our member, Kiley, for her thoughts on how her day went with Denise Herd of Herd Strategies.  

    Kiley and her mentor Denise Herd of Herd Strategies

    “My experience with Denise was really great because we made ideas for her video [and] we made a flyer for a performance at White River Park. We made a brainstorm bubble about what exactly we wanted to do and what we wanted to have, and where we wanted to put flyers. Her co-workers are really fun, they’re very funny and they get along so well.”

    When asked to describe the day is in three words, she didn’t disappoint: “Amazing, fun, and eventful.”

    Lastly, we asked Jennifer Vigran, CEO of Second Helpings, an organization that offers hunger relief and free job training, about our event. When questioned what urged her to volunteer and get involved, she went back to a beloved concept here at Boys & Girls Clubs of Indianapolis: Community.

    Second Helpings CEO Jennifer Vigran and her mentee.

    “It’s a great opportunity for youth to interact with adults in a professional environment, to learn about career paths they may never have known existed, and to receive personal encouragement and advice. We recognize that the Boys & Girls Clubs [of Indianapolis] do exceptional work. We never know how our interaction with one young person can build their confidence and inspire new dreams and aspirations.”

    The focus on helping our youth and others is important to Vigran and she made that apparent with her advice she’d give to the growing generation.

    “Life and careers are a journey.  You never know where it will take you.  Many of us aren’t in the careers we started in or even imagined.  The important thing is to develop your skills, your networks and be open to new opportunities and paths.”

    This feedback is important to receive for our annual event and we are thrilled it has been so positive and beneficial to both our youth and volunteers. We like knowing who shared their careers and impacted our youth brightly, so below will be a list of the wonderful companies, organizations, and individual titles of those who came out to mentor our youth this year.

    Anthem


    Boys and Girls Clubs of Indianapolis


    Broad Ripple Development


    Citizens Energy


    City County Clerk


    College Mentors for Kids


    Covance Central Labs


    Deputy Mayor


    Employ Indy


    Eskenazi


    Herd Strategies


    Indianapolis Metropolitan Planning Organization


    International Marketplace


    IPS Communications


    Journey Fellowship


    Kohls


    Marion County Clerks Office


    McFarling Foods


    Old National Bank


    Pacers Sports & Entertainment


    Pike Township Trustee


    Playworks


    Republic Airways


    Second Helpings


    Talk to Tucker


    Visit Indy


    Without these altruistic and amazing people, we wouldn’t have a successful Take a Boy/Girl to Work Day. We had over 50 members join from our Clubs around Indianapolis during their summer program. With the overall reaction so affirmative, we hope others will join us in next year’s Day and our other events, like Fore the Kids (August 15, 2019), an annual golf outing where you can sponsor and take a day to swing a few on the green, and our Youth of the Year Blue Door Gala (November 16, 2019) celebrating our Club members and awarding the exceptional 2019-2020 Elementary, Middle School, and High School Youth of the Year winners.

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