On November 1, the YMCA of Greater Toronto welcomed grade 9 students across the GTA to explore the world of work. Take our Kids to Work Day gave us the opportunity to support our commitment to continuous learning and provide healthy opportunities for young people.
Take Our Kids to Work Day is an annual program by the Learning Partnership, where students spend the day in the workplace of a parent, relative, friend, or volunteer. On this important day, YMCA employees, including parents and mentors, shared valuable workplace skills such as communication, organization and team work with the visiting students, and provided them with a glimpse into their work day.
Students who joined us for the day were able to job shadow a variety of roles and see their parents and mentors in action — facilitating YMCA training, leading YMCA programs, and performing many other roles. Courtney, one of the participants in Take our Kids to Work Day spent the day with her aunt, Lynn. They spent the morning training YMCA Child Care staff. Courtney’s favourite part of the day was visiting a YMCA Before and After School Program and seeing the children.
Our young learners had the chance to experience work first-hand and gain an appreciation for and understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a wide range of jobs. Amanda and Lilith, both participants in Take our Kids to Work Day spent the day with their moms at childcare centres. For Amanda, the experience was an eye-opener. “It’s not easy work,” she says. “Kids are all different and require different techniques.” Lilith gained a greater appreciation and understanding for the skills needed in working with children. “You have to be patient, and you need to be focused at all times,” she says.
Sakina, another participant, was so happy to spend the day with her mother at a YMCA Employment and Community Centre in Richmond Hill. “Mom planned the day so I could experience the working environment,” she says. “Everyone was so friendly and made me feel welcomed and I got to attend a workshop too”.
Take Our Kids to Work Day gives our youth an opportunity for active participation in the authentic context of the workplace and enables them to make connections in their learning. Padena, one of the young learners, was able to make the connection between her own education and the YMCA program site visited. “I saw how the teachers communicated with the children, and communication skills are important in my own education too.”
The day was a great opportunity to provide our community’s employees of the future with a window into the working world. And for the Y itself, Take Our Kids to Work Day was a perfect way to support our commitment to the education of young people and our vision to make our communities home to the healthiest, children, teens and young adults.