Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Cabrini Connections Career Week

As you may have realized by the number of school-age kids running around the city last week, it was Chicago Public Schools' spring break. Coinciding with this was a week of career oriented activities focused on getting our students thinking critically about their futures and what they need to be doing now to make sure they are on track for postgraduate success! The first half of career week was focused on getting kids out in workplaces around the city, exploring careers and learning more about the day to day work of some of our generous and thoughtful volunteers. To accomplish this, we set up three job visit experiences around the city:
1) A non-profit law firm "Business and Professional People for the Public Interest" that works on affordable and public housing as well as education reform
2) A "Global Experiential Marketing Agency", Jack Morton Worldwide, which aims to create brand awareness through creating interactive marketing experiences
3) A graduate student in school psychology at DePaul University who also coordinates a student tutoring program on campus

Through these three experiences, students had the chance to find out more about what these jobs entail as well as the unique career paths of these 3 volunteers, Kate Pomper, Shannon Murphey and Brea Adams and how they ended up in their current careers.

On Monday I took a group of students to visit Kate Pomper's workplace, which was conveniently located right in the middle of the loop on the 15th floor of a very nice office building steps away from Millenium Park. We were seated in their conference room with a great view of the north loop and began to discuss various careers in Law. After finding that most of our youth had a very narrow conception of what lawyers do (i.e. trial lawyers who argue cases before a jury) Kate made sure our students understood the wide variety of things that lawyers can do on a daily basis and the 3 main sectors of law: private practice, government and non-profit.

Since Kate works for a non-profit public interest law and policy center that addresses issues of social justice and quality of life in the Chicago region, she discussed the nature of her public housing work and how she ended up in the non-profit sector working to promote fair policies for residents during the Chicago Housing Authority's "revitalization" of public housing communities. Throughout Kate's presentation it was clear that she is passionate about her work and happy with the impact she is able to have thanks to her law degree. Though perhaps none of the students will end up studying law, at least now they are more knowledgeable about the process of becoming a lawyer and the unique impact lawyers can have on helping defend both individuals and communities from injustice, however it might manifest itself. We are so happy to have such engaged and excited volunteers like Kate who are willing to go the extra mile to help our kids explore potential careers during Cabrini Connections Career Week. Thanks again!

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