Find Your Wings, a youth engagement organization, in conjunction with Carson Valley Children’s Aid kicked off the fourth annual Youth Career Readiness Workshop yesterday at the Olney Logan Neighborhood Center. The two-day workshop is the most recent of numerous city-wide efforts by Find Your Wings founder Helen Richardson to help youth as young as 8 discover what career best matches their interests.
“I wanted kids to figure out what they wanted and work from the inside out, their passions, their interests, their desires,” Richardson said.
As soon as Richardson found a fulfilling career path for herself in human resources development in the mid-’90s, she made it her mission to help others do the same.
“So much of what we do today with kids is say, ‘Well, you need to be this and you need to be that,'” Richardson said. “And what I see in adults is many people are very unhappy – even though they invested tons of money in their education – because they never took the opportunity to learn about themselves.”
Richardson designed the workshop to engage the 11 participants in a variety of activities to help them gain insight to their own likes and dislikes as well as learn the proper steps to attaining their chosen career. Participant Ashley Hawkins, 16, said she hopes to learn how to progress toward pursuing a career as a family therapist.
“[I want to learn] how to start my own career and maybe college, see what choices each one has to offer,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins, who currently attends Olney High School, said she chose her career path because of her interests.
“I like helping people and talking to people about their problems because a lot of people come to me with their problems,” Hawkins said.
To prompt participants to make insights such as Hawkins’, Richardson said she formats her workshops based on the different age groups that attend. Yesterday’s event was catered toward 13-17-year-olds.
“The older kids, many of them affirm what they want to do. For the younger kids, what it generally does is give them options, things that they never heard of,” Richardson said.
Richardson said she hopes to continue bringing the program to youth in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia.
“I go wherever people want me, it doesn’t matter,” Richardson said.