By Dr. Leigh Anne Taylor Knight, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of The DeBruce Foundation
Along with the warmer weather and sunny days, there is something else giving me joy this spring: a new opportunity for youth and families to LEARN and EXPLORE—together!
This spring, 17+ regions across the country are hosting events throughout their cities to provide immersive and exploratory learning experiences for youth and their families. This learning festival, Remake Learning Days Across America, will be taking place in Kansas City on May 1-10, and The DeBruce Foundation is delighted to be a sponsor.
At The DeBruce Foundation, our mission is to expand pathways to economic growth and opportunity. We believe that each person has value, talent, and skills to offer the world. But, how does one come to understand their interests and skills, and how does one identify how those can be valued in the world?
One way we do this is by providing tools like the Agile Work Profiler to help people identify their Agilities. Agilities are one’s strengths and interests as they relate to work, and every Agility is used in jobs throughout our economy, just in different ways. When one takes the Agile Work Profiler, they encounter multiple-choice questions that tackle concepts like, “What are you interested in?” “What are you good at doing?” and “What do you love to do?”
The experiences that inform the answers to these questions start from a young age. Do you have an early memory that inspired the career you’re in today? Or maybe, you had a favorite class in school that helped develop a gift you have. Or, you may have had an adult in your life who pointed you in the direction of an activity or hobby that became your passion.
Across my life as a parent and an educator, I always relish the moment when a young person gets to try something new and they have an “aha” moment. When students get to immerse themselves in STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activities, they’re getting a window through which they can explore a future career.
It’s up to ALL of us to help young people find their interests and passions. This May, I encourage organizations across our city to host events that inspire an “aha” moment for students. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers, I encourage you to attend events, in person or virtual, with your whole family.
Maybe you’ll see your child light up while dancing mathematical problems at Mathapalooza. Or you’ll overhear them talking food chemistry while learning the secrets to BBQ sauce with the American Royal. Or maybe they’ll say, “I want to be an artist when I grow up,” after having crafted a cardboard pet with Hallmark artist Matt Kesler.
These experiences can inform, guide, and inspire our youngest citizens. When they grow up, they’ll be able to pull from a wealth of experiences when someone asks them: “What are you interested in?” “What are you good at doing?” and “What do you love to do?”
If we can inspire youth to follow their interests and learn important skills along the way, we can help them explore pathways that prepare them for future careers. Starting with creative play and fun STEAM games, seeds are planted for life-long learning and success.
So, let’s spark their imaginations, let them immerse themselves in a new STEAM activity, and let’s cheer them on as they expand their career pathways for their future by exploring their interests today. I’ll see you at Remake Learning Days-Kansas City this May!