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Helping Iowa Kids Shape their Futures by Taking Them to Work

The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program is meant to show kids the value of an education and a balanced work and family life. (daughtersandsonstowork.org)
The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work program is meant to show kids the value of an education and a balanced work and family life. (daughtersandsonstowork.org)
April 27, 2016

DAVENPORT, Iowa - Girls and boys of all races and economic circumstances in Iowa get a first look at options they might not otherwise consider for their future on Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.

Elesha Gayman is executive director of Women's Connection, a Davenport group that aims to inspire, educate and connect women of all ages and backgrounds. She says tomorrow, the group is helping teach young people about the workplace.

"It's an important thing to see kind of what work is, and the different things it can contain," she says. "You get in your mind what you think a factory is like, or what you think a bank is like. But really, the day-to-day work is so much different."

Gayman says her group is working with Boys and Girls Clubs to show kids opportunities in the workplace, even if they're not headed to work with a biological parent, by pairing them up with an adult for the day.

Some of the kids participating come from challenging circumstances. But Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Executive Director Carolyn McKecuen says it's her job to make sure they get the same opportunities as other kids.

"We've got kids from battered women's shelters, we've got kids that don't have houses that are living on the streets," says McKecuen. "But they're getting to go to a workplace this year."

For other kids, it's become old hat. Valerie Wilberding, a soil conservation technician with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Osage, Iowa, has been bringing her 8- and 10-year-old son and daughter into the field with her to test the soil for a couple of years. She says they're hooked.

As Wilberding puts it, "They've been saying, 'Is it our turn to come in yet?' Or, 'Can we go to the office with you today?' 'Do we get to go out and help you?'"

Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day falls annually on the fourth Thursday of April, and celebrates its 23rd anniversary this year.

Bob Kessler, Public News Service - IA