When the kids came: Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day
If you entered the wrong conference room in the Franklin building on April 23, you might have found yourself surrounded by tweens testing their formulas for bouncy balls. On the eighth floor, you would have seen older kids jotting notes as they listened to riveting testimony in a mock trial about a missing Stradivarius violin.*
These were just two of the events happening during UCOP’s Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, when nearly 80 children accompanied their parents to the office. Broken into groups by age, the youngsters saw the full breadth of the work of OP. They toured the Franklin building, developed research plans and learned about patents, built their own websites, made smoothies on a stationary bicycle while learning about nutrition, wrote their résumés and honed their interview skills, among other activities.
Sponsored by the Family Resource Network, in partnership with the Office of the President’s Staff Assembly, the day was planned by a team led by Elaine Bulawin and Rebecca Stanek-Rykoff, and including Barbara Heilmann, Jeanie Urban, Candace Jones, Donna Collins, Emma Sebastian and Matthew Leet.
Planning began last November with the goal of exposing kids to what their parents do during the workday, showing them the value of their education and helping them discover that their own power and future possibilities are key to their success.
The group enlisted 13 departments to present interactive sessions that would appeal to a wide range of children, from age 8 to 18. As any parent or teacher knows, that’s no easy feat! In addition to the presenters, an army of volunteers helped with registration, shepherded kids between sessions and served lunch.
The day was a smashing success, judging from the kudos that came in from parents. Wrote Lifang Chiang, of the Office of Research and Graduate Studies: “The events were of very high quality and … the kids and volunteer staff all seemed very engaged. Great collective spirit!”
Parent Lee Ann Beckley, of the Research Grants Program Office, chimed in too. “I was beyond impressed with the amount of caring and passion that was so clearly evident throughout, from the organization of volunteers and logistics and engaging activities … the carefully prepared presentations and instruction, the photo-op with Janet Napolitano, the “downtime” cartoon during the afternoon break, the food that was healthy, yet with some indulgent items mixed in, the wonderful senior executive speaker, [Rachael Nava] (who clearly has a knack with kids!), to sum everything up at the end of the day, and, finally winding up by sending everyone off with certificates and backpacks with little surprises tucked inside.”
OP’s event was part of a national campaign led by the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation. The foundation is dedicated to developing innovative strategies and research-based activities in informal educational programs that empower girls and boys in all sectors of society to confront and overcome societal messages about youth so that they may reach their full potential and live fulfilling lives.