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In June 2010, Brad Foreman attended the Achieve Quad Cities Launch at the Putnam Museum. After learning the mission of Achieve Quad Cities, he signed up and began the process of becoming a Career Navigator.
"I wanted to make a difference in the community and I thought Achieve Quad Cities was right on the mark."
Over the past year, Brad and his little, Anthony, have developed a friendship. They greet each other with big smiles and hearty handshakes like they were old friends.
What's Anthony's favorite part about the Career Navigator program? "I love going on field trips with Brad," he responds with a smile. Their field trips have led them to a number of organizations in the Quad Cities area, including a woodworking shop, a theatre and a nonprofit, where Anthony learns more about possible career opportunities.
"Each organization is quite different from the other. I'm learning just as much as he is, maybe more," Brad chuckles. "Anthony is fantastic; he's just a little sponge. I love watching him when we visit businesses. You can tell he is really intrigued and it's exciting to watch him learn about the different opportunities available to him."
Lamel, a student in the Career Navigators program at J.B. Young said he was nervous to meet his mentor, Bill, for the first time. “My mom told me he was forty…two?” he guessed. “And I was like, ‘Whoa’. I picture him being really old.”
Bill Yingling, a Business Analyst at John Deere, said he was nervous to meet Lamel too. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” Bill admitted. “I was hoping I would make a good impression, and I wondered what we would talk about.”
However, when they met, Lamel greeted Bill with an enthusiastic “Hey!” as if they were old friends. “I think it’s pretty cool that he works for John Deere because he gets to be around all the huge, giant tractors and help make the parts,” Lamel said of Bill. “My favorite things are getting to know him and doing fun things. We have a lot in common too.”
Bill wants to help Lamel have a good attitude about his future when they finish the program. “I want him to know that he can anything he wants to do.”
LaDrina Wilson’s class looks like any other with desks, a board and students chatting before class. But, something very special is happening – children are being taught how to dream. After speaking to several students, it’s obvious that the classroom presentations and business tours organized by Achieve Quad Cities are helping these students change their perspectives.
One student talks about being new to JB Young. She didn’t have many friends here and felt out of place. She was thinking about dropping out. But, after being in LaDrina’s class, she’s excited to go to school in the morning and wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.
Another student didn’t believe in herself. Her mom didn’t graduate from high school, and she wasn’t planning to either. That was until LaDrina’s class. By talking to the student and explaining the reasons why she should stay in school, she wants to be the first person in her family to graduate.
As a partner with Achieve Quad Cities, this classroom demonstrates the power of mentorship and how it can change students’ lives. With just a few months under LaDrina’s guidance, these students believe they can have bright futures and are on a course to succeed in life.
Donna became interested in Achieve Quad Cities after seeing the Achieve Quad Cities video. With encouragement from her supervisor, Donna signed up to volunteer as a Job Shadow.
"I have kids and would hope someone would take the time to give them guidance," she said. "By volunteering as a Job Shadow, I get the opportunity to give my time to help at-risk kids find some direction in their lives."
When Donna learned that her first job shadow was interested in security, she prepared by enlisting the help of two security officer at her job.
"I was a little nervous because I didn't know what to expect of the job shadow. But Brian was actually a real nice, quiet kid with a lot on his plate."
Donna wants to keep volunteering with Achieve Quad Cities.
She knows the best way for a young person to figure out a career path is by experiencing it and seeing it firsthand.
"Don't be afraid to give it a try. You're helping these kdis by presenting them with an opportunity and helpful advice.
Lamel, a student in the Career Navigators program at J.B. Young... read more