That’s why the Fresh Air Fund holds a Career Awareness Program, for nearly 300 6th to 8th graders. At a nearly month-long program in the summer, at a camp named after board member Mariah Carey (yeah, I succumbed to the lure of using an only tangentially appropriate picture) teens discover their strengths, practice critical thinking, and develop interpersonal skills.
Follow up sessions are held on weekends in spring and fall, and they get a chance to do job shadowing and attend a career fair.
One day of this costs $42 per camper and would be a great investment in some young person’s future.
Or you could help out by joining the runners at the NYC Half Marathon on March 21, or sponsoring a runner.
The line I like from the camp information is We encourage young people to face challenges and follow career paths that are in line with their skills and talents.. In other words, please be realistic. You may not be able to make a living as a shortstop or a sports writer or even a sports administrator.
Reality check for any young person, not just those from the inner city: just because you major in “sports management” doesn’t mean you’ll land a job in that field. So while you are in grade school and high school, develop additional interests beyond sports.
Parents: don’t let traveling soccer (or video games) supplant family trips to the Franklin Institute, Liberty Science Center, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, and on and on. The best “career awareness” program you can offer is to extend their horizons.
It’s harmless to let kids think they can be the next Derek Jeter or Mariah Carey. Or is it?