Do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up? An astronaut? Firefighter? Perhaps a librarian?
Many of the older youth in UCAN’s programs often find themselves at a crossroads: how do they make their dreams a reality? What school is right for them? How will they pay for it? What happens next?
UCAN offers an array of individual and group mentoring services to help youth with employment and education paths. In this work, it has been found to also be incredibly beneficial to receive advice and support from professionals, like the Executive Leadership Team at Advocate Healthcare.
In coordination with our External Affairs team, more than 30 Advocate Healthcare Executives visited UCAN to sit down with 37 teens from our programs, including Violence Prevention and Intervention Services, Diermeier Future Leaders Now, Rapid Employment and Development Initiative, and Restoring Individuals through Supportive Environments.
Splitting up into seven groups, the executives and youth mingled to discuss three questions:
- What are your career goals?
- What are your education goals?
- What does diversity and inclusion mean to you?
The youth shared with their respective groups their hopes and dreams – the schools they wanted to attend, obstacles they faced and career they were interested in. The Advocate members listened and offered feedback and advice, as well as uncovered previously unknown connections with the youth. In one instance, an executive discovered he is an alumnus of the school a youth in his group wants to attend. Upon this discovery, the executive was able to share some connections and offer greater insights to the youth about his application to the school.
Not only did all of the youth learn from the Advocate executives, the executives gained a new found perspective on what is like to grow up in Chicago.
“Advocate leaders came away with a new awareness of the issues facing Chicago’s underprivileged youth and a profound appreciation for their willingness to interact and share their stories, struggles and plans for the future with us,” says Rev. Kathie Bender Schwich, Senior Vice President of Mission and Spiritual Care at Advocate Healthcare. “As is usually the case in these situations, we received much more than we were able to give.”
If you are interested in becoming a resource for our youth, please contact Janella Curtis at Janella.firstname.lastname@example.org or at (773) 290-5879.