YLS Meet & Greet with Roseland Upward Bound Teens

This blog is submitted on behalf of Heather Pratt, Associate Managing Director-Human Resources with The PrivateBank and Trust Company and YLS Committee Member. On Wednesday, March 14, YLS members participated in a “Spring Break Meet and Greet” volunteer event hosted by Metropolitan Family Services’ Calumet Center in the Roseland neighborhood of Chicago. Metropolitan Calumet has been serving families struggling with poverty and violence for more than 50 years. The professional and caring staff provide services such as parenting education, youth programming services and more, with the goal of providing hope and help to these families in need. Upward Bound, one of the many programs offered for students, recruits eligible students at local high schools and provides educational and supportive services to help these first generation students successfully complete high school and enter college. “Spring Break Meet and Greet” provided Upward Bound students, both current and alumni, with an opportunity to network with Chicago-area professionals and discuss the importance of networking, internships, resume-building, communication skills, mentoring relationships and more. Upon arrival, students and volunteers settled in by enjoying pizza and other refreshments. The activities began with introductions by the Metropolitan Calumet staff members who explained the purpose of the event and agenda. Introductions by both the volunteers and students followed. The main activity during the meet and greet was called “Speed Metro.” Similar to speed dating, volunteers were seated at different tables throughout the room. Students had an opportunity to visit each table, introduce themselves and ask the volunteer a question within a 3-5 minute time period. Volunteers were asked questions such as: What makes a resume stand out?; What do you do for the company you work for?; How can I benefit from having a professional mentor?; to name a few. The one-on-one conversations allowed the students and volunteers to easily form bonds. Students were prompted to move to the next table when a staff member rang a bell. After the “Speed Metro” activity, the students had an opportunity to ask questions of their choice to the volunteers and staff. Topics on how to use social media properly during an internship and job search, skills desired by employers, and the importance of extra-curricular activities were discussed. Before departing, volunteers distributed their business cards to the students as a way to foster future conversations about the event’s topics. The students were enthusiastic and engaged throughout the evening, making it a rewarding experience for the volunteers. YLS volunteers and the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago were glad to be a part of such an encouraging experience and look forward to the students becoming successful college graduates and working professionals in the future. Photo Credit: City Year

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