What do you want to be when you grow?
That’s a question we were all asked as we grew up – a question I still ask myself! Guess that means there is value in lifelong learning. My first answer - I interned as a secretary back in 1970, but quickly moved on to MANY other paths - medical receptionist/assistant, sales (cleaning products, makeup, furniture) and then a long stent in radio starting in sales and moving into management – staying there for 22 years. Still on that search for ‘what I want to be when I grew up’ I continued that lifelong learning including hours and hours of volunteering. Motivated by my work as a volunteer I began my career in non-profits – literacy council, children’s museum, naval museum and then birthed Horizons4Girls.
Horizons4Girls works with referrals from middle and high schools throughout Sheboygan County, both public and private. Our students are often learning basic survival skills, working to complete high school, improving social skills; and setting and accomplishing goals they have set for themselves for school, home and their personal life. We surround our students with a circle of support they learn to trust, they explore the world around them, they develop skills they will use in life, experience successes and often discover their passion. Horizons4Girls mentors ~ inspiring the internal promise of each student as they fulfill their academic and personal goals. We ignite a spark and those sparks help our students see and experience their full potential.
That spark might be ‘out there’ in the world of work and we strive to give our students experience in a wide range of careers over their various Spring breaks. Over the past couple weeks they have job shadowed careers in radio, horse rescue, attorneys, artists, photographers, pet supplies, coffee shop, organic gardening, auto technicians, resale shop, daycare, nursing, business administration, animal behaviorists, massage therapists and more. Our students were able to gain on the job experience, ask questions and explore career options.
Dozens of businesses and professionals opened their doors, spent hours answering questions and explained what their particular field is all about. Our students begin to understand some next steps they can take. The work we do is done with dozens of volunteers giving hundreds of volunteer hours. Those volunteers are interviewed, screened and trained. Earlier this year we recognized several of our volunteers for achieving the level of certification as a mentor. The work we do with students we refer to as ‘at promise’, is work that our communities need to recognize as work they can ALL be a part of.