A Most Impressive Event: Nolan’s Career Day!

One of the great things about my association with the Detroit Public School system via Project Sweet Tomato is the opportunity that I and others have to do something good for the our youth and at the same time do something for the community as well. There’s a lot of talk from politicians (from both sides of the aisle), civic leaders and social commentators that whatever we are doing, politically, financially and socially we should be doing it for our children. The children of today are the adults of tomorrow, so we must be careful not to pass on to them a world that is doomed by our errors and mistakes. That’s all well and good, but in trying to leave them a world that has all the benefits and amenities that we enjoy today, we need to also prepare them so that they can participate, compete and survive in this world as equals.

I am writing today about the career day event that took place at Nolan on Friday, April 27th. This event was developed and executed by four women that obviously care about the future of the youths of Detroit and more immediately the future of some of the students of Nolan Elementary-Middle School. The women that are responsible for the Career Day event at Nolan were:

 Ms. Andrea Jackson, Compact Coordinator

 Ms. Vanessa Johns, Nolan School Counselor

 Ms. Bonnie Odom-Brown, BE Culturally Exposed

 Ms. Maura Ryan-Kaiser, Snelling Staffing Solutions

I was unable to reach out and get a response for this story from Mss. Jackson and Johns. Fortunately, however, Mss. Kaiser and Brown were able to talk and share with me what they observed and learned while participating in the event.

I know this, like most successful efforts, was a team effort. Since they are not being interviewed with you, how much credit do you want to bestow on Mss. Jackson and Johns for their role in helping to coordinate the Career Day event?

Bonnie:  Ms. Jackson and Ms. Johns were awesome in the way they pulled all of the pieces together to make Career Day the rousing success it was.

Maura: Without Ms. Jackson and Ms. Johns Career Day would not have happened at all! They brought so many people to the school to present to the students.


So you would think that their assistance and direction was invaluable, right?

Maura & Bonnie: Absolutely


If it is not inappropriate to ask, whose idea was it to have the Career Day? Was there a specific goal for the event?

Bonnie:    I am not aware the idea started, I was only too happy that it did and my goal was to present the garden opportunity to the students.

Maura: During our initial discussions with Principle Tawwab I asked if the school hosted a Career Day and he said they did and pointed me in Ms. Johns direction to help her with finding some presenters. Bonnie and I began working with Ms. Johns about two months prior to the event.


How much time did it take to put it together and to pull it off?

Bonnie:  I attended one meeting with Ms. Johns and then spent about five hours at the school on the day of the event..

Maura: I spent several hours working on recruiting presenters as did my team of Account Managers. I went through the internet looking for young entrepreneurs who had businesses in Detroit and as a team Snelling reached out to our client base and asked them to present to the school.


What role did Principal Tawwab play in the development and execution of the program?

Maura: He empowered Ms. Jackson and Ms. Johns to run the program, his support was critical to the event happening.


You had a pretty diverse group of presenters, just to name a few, who was there?

Bonnie:  I personally met with a representative from the Youth Division of the Mayor’s office, an engineer from NASA, a college preparation specialist, amd a Detroit Fire Fighter..

Maura: There was a Professor from Walsh College, a railroad Policewoman, a DJ from 98.7 radio, several people from the Mayor’s office, an engineer from NASA, Policemen and Firemen, City Councilwoman Martha Scott and several people from the healthcare industry.


Did you present? If so, what was your presentation about?

Bonnie:  I talked to the students about the garden and their opportunity to participate.

Maura: I spoke with the students about finding a job and the importance of staying out of trouble while they are young because it will follow them into adulthood. I also talked about how they present themselves to others and the fact that you receive the same treatment you give and I encouraged them to be conscious and purposeful in what they do.


What grade levels did you/they present to?

Bonnie:  Sixth, seventh and eiight grades.

Maura: Seventh, fourth


Did you or your presenters think that the group(s) they presented to was too young to appreciate or understand what they were being told?

Maura & Bonnie: No


Why was that?

Maura: I adjusted my message to fit the age of the children and I am certain the other presenters did as well.


How well did you think your presentation was received?

Bonnie:  Although the students were antsy, they asked excellent questions.

Maura: The older students were very interested in the consequences of their actions and how bad decisions may follow them into the workplace. The younger students were very interested in learning about the interviewing process and sharing their goals.


How about the others? Did any one presenter/presentation stand out?

Bonnie:  I believe that the students I presented to were most impressed with the male presenters..

Maura: The male presenters were definitely the hit of the day there was one man who shared his presentation with us and it was very good. He was an accountant with DMC and his presentation started with a photo of his house, then his car and then his family and he discussed the benefits of education, the responsibility to family, and how being responsible will be rewarding.


Hindsight being 20/20, is there anything that you would have done ifferently?

Maura: Tons! I think I would have been more direct with the first group of kids and more insistent that I present to the older kids. The purpose of the day was less about what I do and more about how I can help the kids focus on the right path.


Do you think that the kids/students got out of the sessions what you had wanted them to get?

Bonnie:  Yes! 

Maura: Yes and no. The younger kids were very engaged and interested in how I could help their parents and grandparents get jobs but most of the message was lost on them because they were not old enough to understand the concepts nor were they socially (with their peers) in the same type of high pressure situation to choose their path (right or wrong).


Would you do it again? Do you think it is possible to make this an annual event at the school?

Bonnie:  I think this should be an annual event and I would do it again!

Maura: In a heartbeat!  I have been thinking about how I can improve the message I would like to deliver and will be more than happy to participate in this program for many years to come!  I think we could even expand on the program allowing students to spend a day in the field with mentors so they can see what a real workday looks like.


2 Responses so far »

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    […] A Most Impressive Event: Nolan’s Career Day! (beculturallyexposed.wordpress.com) […]

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    […] A Most Impressive Event: Nolan’s Career Day! (beculturallyexposed.wordpress.com) […]

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