No matter where you find yourself along life’s journey, you are encouraged to consider sharing your gifts of time, talent, treasure, and voice with our young people through our local schools. In the third column in this series, we explore the idea that you have talents to be shared as you give your time to our local schools. Your talents may include providing career guidance, gardening, mentoring, and even dancing.
Regarding career guidance, our schools and our youth will benefit from learning about your real-world experience. Our elementary, middle and high schools have a Career Day where guests are invited into schools to talk with classes about their work experience. It is helpful to share the reality of a typical week. Whether you are an electrician, banker, vet tech, cook, lawyer, nurse, or other, our children recognize you as an expert. They will benefit from your attention and words of wisdom as they discern their own paths and explore various career options.
Likewise, our high schoolers are creating resumes and seeking their first jobs. They need assistance proofreading job applications and practicing interviews. If you are a manager or owner of a business, consider creating an internship and directly mentoring a young person on his/her early professional experience. The experience is priceless.
Do you garden? Community member Linda Byars, a local master gardener, mentors Irmo High School students through gardening and works alongside student groups to plant flowers throughout the school’s campus. Mrs. Byars recently assisted a student earning her Girl Scout Gold Award and she is instrumental in many of the school’s award-winning Green Step School projects in which students learn, do, then teach others about environmental stewardship. Thank you, Mrs. Byars.
While many of our students have positive adult role models in their lives, many do not. School District Five has a formal mentoring program where caring adults volunteer to meet regularly with students who need encouragement, guidance, and acceptance. Tutoring and helping with homework is always an option, though not a requirement. You are invited to learn more about mentoring here: https://www.lexrich5.org/Page/9232.
Students are also able to give back to our community through their talents. Below, please read the words of students Audrey Keller and Anna White, seniors at Irmo High School and candidates for the International Baccalaureate (“IB”) Diploma. Here is part of their story explaining their passion for communication through movement:
“Dedication, hard work, passion, and discipline are characteristics that we, Audrey and Anna, are all too familiar with. As IB students, dedicated church members, consistent employees at small businesses in the Irmo area, and girls who love to watch the Divergent movies and TikTok, we also have a drive and desire to excel in one of the most difficult sports/arts: ballet.
As ballet dancers who have moved up the ranks of our company since the youngest age of 9, we have grown in our abilities to converse with those around us… just not in words. We dance. We tell stories through movement and to top it off, we get to spin around in pretty costumes. As company members, we participate in two productions a year, our annual Christmas show and our spring show. However, besides the two weeks of the season that we are in the theatre, there are smaller community events we participate in such as Irmo’s very own Okra Strut and the First Baptist Church’s Celebration of Liberty.
We are at the studio every day standing at the barre practicing our plies, tendues, and rond de jambes. It’s a tedious practice, but we have learned how to act, how to work with others, and how to overcome physical and mental challenges that come with any passion a person decides to pursue. This does not stop over the summer. Dance training usually becomes more involved over the summer with there being summer dance intensive programs such as the one at Ballet58, a ballet company where Audrey trained this past summer, and at our own home studio where we both enjoy weeks of intensive training each summer.
Every day we are students by sunlight and ballet dancers at night. As a famous ballet choreographer whose repertoire we study at our studio has said, ‘What are you saving for? What are you waiting for? Now is all there is’ (George Balanchine).”
Indeed, now is the time for you to share your talents with our local schools. Thank you.
Thank you for reading this column. I welcome your comments and ideas for future topics via email at [email protected]