by Louise Majorey, AmeriCorps VISTA and Jessica Guilliford, La Farge Librarian
How did you decide what your career would be? By chance? By luck? Maybe a school counselor or teacher had some information they shared about careers that could provide satisfaction and a good living? Or like many of us was it just a hunch and a distant interest that you went with?
Knowing that these questions abound and that information is often lacking for high school students, Ellie Hoffman, AmeriCorps VISTA alumni, and Jessica Guilliford, Reference Librarian at La Farge Library, teamed up after a similarly themed Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board Meeting. These women put their heads together and came up with the brilliant idea to offer Santa Fe students and the general public a series of monthly Career Talks at the La Farge and Southside Libraries starting in August and ending soon in November 2018. Over the last couple of years, the librarians have attended the monthly Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board meetings and created a survey for teens to learn about what more the library can do to support them. What was learned is that Santa Fe youth would like more help and support with many things but the top three areas are jobs, homework, and financial literacy.
The purpose was to inform and advise career seekers on a range of careers, including law, the arts, high tech jobs, law enforcement and health care, to name just a few. They paired the individuals in unusual and interesting combinations; for instance, we heard from a filmmaker and a lawyer one evening and a designer and a paramedic/firefighter the next session. These combinations proved to enliven the conversations and allowed the audience to ask some great questions.
Providing a service like this to the public takes a lot of marketing to get the word out. The events have been widely published on the Santa Fe Teen Job Center Facebook page, but we wanted to reach out to students more directly. With the final schedule in hand Ellie and I headed over to Santa Fe High School to speak with Missy Gurule, who manages College Plaza. This is a great place on campus where students can get all kinds of information from how to apply for student loans and scholarships to information on colleges and careers. Missy immediately put us in touch with teachers who would be interested in having their students attend the career talks. She also recommended that Ellie record a brief infomercial that would be heard during their morning announcements. Her assistance and knowledge of how to reach the students paid off and we greatly appreciate her guidance. It was really encouraging to see students at the Career Talks who shared with us that their teacher at Santa Fe High School was giving them extra credit for attending these lectures. Thank You teachers!!
As a former teacher I have personal experience trying to share information with students about careers, and I know that the most influential messages that have staying power came directly from the people who have the career or profession. Seeing students genuinely engage and perhaps use that opportunity to ask personal, important questions can be immensely gratifying.
The Career Talks seem to have a positive impact on those who have attended. Those who have joined the program and discussions leave with a new understanding of what it is like to live the life of a professional and what it takes to get there. In many cases it is also their first exposure and experience with “Networking”. SFPL looks forward to continuing to bring in professionals who are willing to share their story and network with interested community members.
The ads for our Career Talks stated: Who Will You Choose To Be? This is an important decision that each of us needs help with somewhere along the way, and Career Talks definitely will continue to help, inform and assist those in our community who seek help. Many thanks go out to our crew of professionals who gave their time, expertise and valuable insights about their chosen careers. We want them to know they made a difference in the lives our young citizens and future professionals of Santa Fe. We look forward to working with you again.