Leaders-in-Training Learn to Network
On Saturday, February 23rd, the Education & Learning unit of the IRC in New York held its first Refugee Youth Leaders-in-Training Career Speed-Networking Workshop. The Leaders-in-Training (LIT) Program empowers high school juniors and seniors demonstrating leadership and academic excellence to realize their full potential and become role models for their peers. This year, the 22 LIT participants come from 11 different countries, including Guinea, Tibet, Nepal, Haiti, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Benin, and Ecuador.
One of the main goals of the LIT Program is to prepare its student leaders for college, future careers, and civic leadership. Career-focused workshops include resume and cover letter writing as well as developing interview skills and professional etiquette. The Career Speed-Networking workshop was the culmination of LIT Career Week, which began with group visits to IRC Headquarters and TBWA Worldwide, a global advertising firm. The purpose of the gathering was to expose the youth to a variety of potential career options and provide valuable, informational interview practice. 13 working professionals, from fields as varied as social work, nursing, international educational programming, advertising, corporate philanthropy, consulting, and finance, volunteered as career representatives at the event. Each of the 14 participating LITs met the career representatives for a series of 15-minute informational interviews.
“I really found this experience helpful because it made me understand that it’s ok for me right now not to know what I want to do in college. Also, I now understand that there are many jobs that I might be interested in”, Oumamatou, from Guinea, remarked.
Other students felt reassured after hearing the different representatives speak about their own academic and career choices, and how they got into the profession they now hold. Miolene, from Haiti, felt empowered after her sessions: “I learned a lot from everyone! I learned that we are the same people; they are just people like me, but they have higher education level than me. They are like my role model.”
The Leaders-in-Training participants are extremely thankful to the IRC International Programs staff, TBWA Worldwide, and all the career representatives who volunteered their time to make this year’s Career Week such a success!