Students take part in a field trip as part of the Pathfinders program, a project of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA.
By R. Scott Lyons, a member of the Rotary Club of Rappahannock-Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA
How can you use your vocational skills to help students prepare for life after graduation? Three years ago, our club set out to answer that question with the help of Germanna Community College, the Spotsylvania Education Foundation, and our local high school. Here’s what we discovered.
Under our Rotary club’s leadership, the group created the Pathfinders program, a project that offered field trips, in-school presentations and mentoring to students who needed a boost to achieve their full potential.
While the program’s emphasis is on helping young people prepare for productive and satisfying careers, it also seeks to broaden their horizons. Growing up in rural Virginia, many students have never ventured far from their home county. So Pathfinder field trips include not only tours of workplaces and colleges, but also experiences visiting museums and attending professional theatrical productions.
In-school presentations feature Rotarians discussing their occupations, as well as programs on choosing a college and applying for financial aid. The key to the program’s success is mentoring. Almost 20 members of our club work with students individually to give them in-depth knowledge of particular careers and encourage them to take the steps necessary to succeed.
This year we have expanded the Pathfinders effort by partnering with the College’s Career Coaching program. This will allow us to help a larger number of students by supplementing the work the career coach does with virtually every one of the school’s seniors.
While the focus of Pathfinders is helping students prepare for the future, participating Rotary members also derive great satisfaction from seeing the impact they have on individual students’ lives. In the future, we hope to work with other Rotary clubs to adopt schools of their own.
- Download An Introduction to Vocational Service
- Learn more about effective projects in the guide Communities in Action
Source: Rotary Voices