Students at the private Westerly School in Long Beach were able to coordinate a traveling career day for underprivileged youth from Precious Lamb Preschool earlier this month, taking them to visit sites in the city where the younger children could interact with their dream jobs.
With the help of Miller Children’s Hospital, the Long Beach Fire Department, Primal Alchemy and The Big Red Bus–which helped with transportation for the day–the students in Westerly’s Dedicated Leadership class took children from Precious Lamb inside the medical, culinary and fire fighting careers.
Director of Student Affairs, David Perram, who served as liaison by facilitating communication between his students and the organizations in the city, said that organizing this day was made easier by the willingness of the involved parties to pitch in and help.
“I was amazed at how quickly the community came together to support our students in building this day for the kids at Precious Lamb,” Perram said. “Everyone responded with incredible enthusiasm about the project.”
The leadership class at Westerly is composed of students from grades six to eight who work on campus events to enhance student life and are challenged annually to devise a community engagement service project.
This year, they decided to reach out to Precious Lamb–the nonprofit, faith-based preschool that provides daily instruction to children whose families are residents of shelters or transitional programs–because they wanted to inspire youth who are fighting homelessness by helping to introduce them to professionals who hold positions in their dream jobs.
The day started with a tour of the simulation lab at Long Beach Memorial Hospital where the students were visited by Dr. Divya-Devi Joshi, Chief Medical Director at Miller and got to see all the interactive tools doctors use in training. The Big Red Bus then took them to Fire Station 17 where the preschoolers were guided by staff around the living quarters and fire truck. The day ended at Primal Alchemy catering where Chef Paul Buchanan discussed the benefits of local and healthy food choices before enjoying a lunch on the beach prepared by the sustainable catering company.
“It felt great to see how special the day was to them, they were really excited and wanted to be involved in all aspects of the day,” said 8th-grade leadership student Logan Senn.
Last year, Westerly helped needy children express their dreams through the form of murals at the Century Villages at Cabrillo. Perram said that going forward, the relationship between Westerly and Precious Lamb is only going to grow stronger, with a plan in the works to potentially offer summer scholarships to help ease the transition of the younger students from preschool to kindergarden. The traveling career day, though, is something that Perram said was a growing experience for students of both schools.
“I could arguably say that day was one of my favorite days this year and favorite days as an educator,” Perram said. “I knew going into it the preschoolers were going to have their eyes opened to things they’ve never seen before. The part that was exciting for me was seeing the excitement in my student’s eyes and showing them the power they have to influence others.”
Photos courtesy of Westerly School