College and Career Readiness Week at YWCA Midtown
What do you want to be when you grow up? Why is it important to go to college? How do you pay for college?
These are questions we asked youth and staff during College and Career Readiness Week, April 11-15 at the Midtown YWCA. Strong Fast Fit (SFF), a program within the Girls and Youth Department, meets at Midtown twice a week to learn about nutrition and physical fitness. This month, we took a break from the normal lessons on food and fitness to learn about careers, college and life after high school.
Midtown YWCA serves about 70 Latino and Native American youth between the ages of 7-17 years old. During College and Career Readiness Week, all youth participated in activities in their Strong Fast Fit groups or in the Center for Learning and Academic Support (CLAS) which is a homework help room for SFF youth participants. Elementary youth played “What’s My Job?” career charades and began learning about the importance of college. Middle and high school youth took career assessment quizzes, researched potential jobs and played College/Career Jeopardy.
Many youth in our elementary groups were surprised to hear that they should continue their education past high school. Many SFF youth would be first generation college students. Studies show that if students’ parents do not have a post-secondary degree, only about 50% of those students will go to college straight out of high school. This is far less for those whose parents have less than a high school diploma (http://tinyurl.com/nubg7or).
Our youth have big dreams and they are learning the importance of education. One youth said he wanted to be a paleontologist because there are dinosaurs that haven’t been discovered yet and he wants to find them. When he was asked about college, he said it is important to attend and “whatever you put into it you get out of it”. Another youth said he wants to work in an emergency room as a doctor. He said that science and math are important and “even if you don’t like it, you have to go to school every day.”
This second annual College and Career Readiness Week was a fun, exciting time for youth and staff. We will be visiting Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) later this month. During our visit we’ll eat on campus, meet advisors and learn about the programs that MCTC offers. Our youth will get to picture themselves attending college and starting careers!