Female students at Chilliwack Secondary School (CSS) said they felt better prepared for their post-secondary lives after taking part in a career-support conference for girls.
The small group of 12 CSS students signed up for Dream It, Be It, an all-day event hosted by the Soroptimist International Club of Chilliwack.
It is designed to help teenaged girls who are falling through the cracks, said local club member Cari Moore.
The program is aimed not at those who get all the support they need nor the ones who are the straight-A students, but the ones “caught in the middle that don’t get that leg up,” she said.
Dream It, Be It covers topics like career opportunities, setting and achieving goals, and moving forward after setbacks or failures.
On Friday, Feb. 18, the group of students spent their Pro-D Day taking part in Dream It, Be It in the school library.
One of the sessions they did was determining what personality type they are and figuring out what post-secondary studies or careers might best fit their personality. For example, someone who’s an extrovert and values fame and wealth probably shouldn’t be working in a lab, suggested Moore.
They explored what their values are and how they will overcome possible obstacles that they might not think about, like finances. They also got access to a virtual career library which contains short interviews with 100s of women who talk about their careers.
“We give them a lot of things to think about,” Moore said.
Counsellors and staff at the school recommend the program to the students, and the young women came voluntarily.
CSS student Jennifer Hanson signed up after a teacher recommended she give it a shot.
“It sounded like a worthwhile experience. I decided it was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” said Jennifer, who’d like to get into a career as either an English or math teacher.
Fellow student Scarlette Johansson is interested in forensic biology. She said she felt more prepared after taking the Dream It, Be It program and signed up to better her chances at getting a scholarship.
Every year, the Soroptimist International Club of Chilliwack hands out a scholarship to one Grade 12 girl. The Dream It, Be It program was already offered at G.W. Graham in October and they’re bringing it to Sardis Secondary in April. The $1,000 scholarship – which is based on volunteer experience and an essay they write on why it is important to support women and girls – is given to one Grade 12 student in the Chilliwack School District who took part in Dream It, Be It.
The most important piece that Scarlette took away from the Feb. 18 event was realizing that her life’s path after high school is something she will be in control of.
“The most valuable information was knowing that I should listen to what I want to do, not what my mother wants me to do,” she said.
Jennifer said she felt calmer having participated in the program.
“I think the most valuable thing for me was to know that you do not have to have everything figured out the second you start post-secondary (school),” she said. “It was helpful to know that if I hate what I am doing, it’s not the end of the world if I change my career path or life’s direction.”
The students ended the day with yoga where they learned breathing techniques and how to relieve tension.