By Nithya Prabhala, City Year AmeriCorps member serving on the CSX Team at the Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy.
“Don’t ever let anything hold you back!” That is what we, as City Year corps members, wanted to convey to all of our students through our Career Night Event at EGLA held in April. “Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams.”
With this slogan as the theme of our Career Night at the Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy, our team worked tirelessly to give the E. Greenwood students and their families the opportunity to be exposed to as many different career paths as possible. We wanted the students to become inspired and excited for their future. We wanted to teach them the value of education by opening their young minds to the world of opportunity around them. So how can you plan your own Career Night at your school?
1. First, the set up. Everyone on my team took a lot of initiative to make sure that every detail was taken care of in terms of the set up for the event. From tablecloths to banner-hanging, balloons to chairs and food placement to registration set-up, every detail was meticulously managed. We were lucky enough to have Au Bon Pain generously donate much of the food for this event.
2. The guest list. In order to make this a successful night, we called upon many individuals from both the Hyde Park community as well as surrounding Boston area. These individuals generously agreed to contribute their experience and knowledge to our event. It was great to see all walks of life come together to enjoy our event.
Among our amazing volunteers were Inspector Ronald Majors and Inspector Willie Martinez (Boston Firefighters), Senior Master Sargent Medic June Fonteyne and Chief Medic Pina Iennaco (Air Force medics), Dr. Rao Prabhala (cancer research scientist), Charlie Rose (Dean of City Year and restaurant owner), Mrs. Wright (E. Greenwood Principal), Neelima Prabhala (City Year New York City Alum), David Homsy (licensed jeweler and gemologist), Stephen Spaloss (Vice President and Regional Director of City Year), Janine Vlassakis (Educational Outreach Coordinator, Affective Science Institute of Northeastern University), Katie Berhmann and Caroline Burke (Representatives from the Museum of Science), Lisa Goren (Painter), Waldo Zamor (Medical Student), Rob Consalvo (Hyde Park City Councilman) and Darnell Williams (President/CEO, Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts) and Sean Devine (Assistant coach, Boston College football). We were pleased that all of our speakers arrived enthusiastic about speaking with our students. Thank you everyone!
3. The execution.
We started the event by hosting a panel discussion. Before students and families broke up into smaller groups to listen to three of our speakers, we wanted to give them an overview of the diverse group of professionals attending the event. Each panelist introduced themselves and answered questions that pertained to their specific career.
The students and their families had some time to engage with guest speakers one-on-one afterward. Most families and speakers we spoke with mentioned that the small, intimate settings allowed for a meaningful discussions and sharing of experiences.
4. Extra hands on deck.
I was not only happy with all of our speakers, all the work my team had put into the event, but also thankful for the many family and friends that came to help us out. They served as ushers for
the day, giving valuable extra support to the small, but mighty, C
SX team. My sister, a NYC City Year alum, came to impart her experience with City Year in New York. My personal highlight was my dad coming to support our event by volunteering as a speaker and. Special thanks to my teacher, Tammi Mark, who came and sat in on my dad’s presentation.
5. Inspirational Closing. Finally, after the smaller presentation rotations, all the students, families and speakers returned to the auditorium for the closing remarks by City Year Vice President Steve Spaloss. He was able to inspire students and adults alike with his words about students taking an interest in their education and communicating their needs to the adults. “It is in your hand!” he reiterated. And I believe that it definitely is.
I hope that our efforts will help students become inspired about about their futures, and will give them ideas about possible careers that they may not have considered before.
Have you hosted a Career Day? Got a question? Leave a comment below!