Annual Career Day Inspires Incarcerated Youth
A Perspective from Reading Specialist Angelique Kwabenah:
Career Day is an annual event planned by staff for our students in the Incarcerated Youth Program. Every year, various guests across industries come to share stories and advice to students.
In the past, we have had doctors, radio personalities, lawyers, athletes, authors, pilots, bus drivers, mechanics, personal trainers, plumbers, and more visit our students. This year, on November 15, we had four phenomenal presenters spend the day with us.
We started the morning off with Hill Harper, author of several books and actor in the acclaimed series CSI: New York. Mr. Harper’s latest book is Letters to an Incarcerated Brother, which came out this month. It is a collection of inspiring letters from notable figures such as Spike Lee, Colin Powell and Grant Hill to incarcerated young men around the country.
Mr. Harper and the students read excerpts from the book. One student, A. P., said, “It’s nice that famous people that don’t even know us care enough to write a letter to give us some motivation.”
After lunch, we had a rousing session with Shawn Yancy (photo right), a Fox 5 Newscaster. Ms. Yancy shared her stories of success and failure and gave the students practical strategies for success in life, for example: “Always have a plan and always dream,” and “Never let anyone distract you from your dream, not even your family”.
Afterwards, Comcast sportscaster Lou Holder shared his “10, 10, 10 Rule” with the group. He said that every action that they took would impact them for 10 minutes, 10 months, or 10 years—so it was important to choose wisely.
We ended the day with George Worrell, a successful stylist and event planner and Executive Director of Journey, Inc., a non-profit that seeks to empower youth. Mr. Worrell left students with three key points to consider: First, reflect and think about life’s past and present obstacles. Second, visualize and foresee creating new goals, ideas, and dreams, and third, start planning now to build the bridge between their dreams and reality.
Each presenter encouraged attendees to stay focused, persistent, and hopeful for the future. With this event and our daily programs, our goal is for our students to be prepared and motivated when they enter back into the community.