Faculty, staff bring children to work

Mackenzie Mathews

Children were able to get an inside look into life at WKU during the fourth annual Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day event.

The Department of Human Resources participated in the national event on April 24 by allowing faculty to bring their second-to twelfth-grade kids or grandkids to campus for a day-long experience.

“It basically introduces participants to what the different departments do,” Human Resources specialist Amber Scott said. “This is part of our work-life initiative to help close that gap between family life and work life.”

The children began their day at 8 a.m. with a gathering session that consisted of games. After dividing off into groups, they made their way to break out sessions hosted by various WKU departments. Parents ended the day by giving their children job tours.

Participating parents and grandparents often helped out with the sessions, enabling the kids to get a chance to see what they do for a living, Scott said.

The 2014 event almost doubled the amount of participants from the original in 2010, increasing from 60 kids to 128.

“We do this event to give young people the opportunity to be introduced to a whole variety of occupational opportunities,” Scott said. “They’re really interested in it. We’ve been very successful so far.”

Betty Yu, assistant director of Educational Outreach in the Confucius Institute, participated in the event by hosting a session and bringing her daughter in. Hosting allows her to reach out to the broader WKU community, she said.

Reaghan Chen, Yu’s fourth grade daughter, enjoyed the program and the sessions she engaged in, like Aramark’s on cooking and her other two on gardening and fabric stamping.

“I met some new people and got introduced to some new jobs,” Chen said. “I want to do it as long as I can, because it’s really fun and you get to do different stuff.”

Most sessions had WKU students interacting with the kids, helping with hands-on activities, demonstrations or simulations. This offered an introduction to the campus and the opportunities available to college students.

The students also helped close the gap between the kids and faculty, as they could be more relatable to the kids through their age and situation, Scott said. Students often led or organized entire sessions in their departments.

“It’s kind of a cool way to allow some of their students to engage,” she said.

This was the second year for Cindy Jones, family and consumer sciences instructor, to host a session on textiles.

“I enjoy working with the kids, and I think it’s a nice way to bring kids on campus from all aspects of faculty and staff,” Jones said. “It’s really amazing how talented and creative they are.”

The event oriented children to the idea of attending college in helping them realize it can be a fun and interesting place with much more than just lectures, she said.

At the end of the day the kids went off with their parents or grandparents to take tours of their offices and see what their job was all about.

“By and large, we want to give kids the opportunity to spend the day with mom or dad at work to see what they do,” Scott said.