County Hosts Career Day for Kids Coping with Homelessness

What do you want to be when you grow up? It's a question often asked of children as they navigate their way through school and various interests. But imagine trying to answer that question when you're not even sure if you're going to have a roof over your head some nights? Eighth-grade students from a local school that helps homeless and at-risk children got a day to consider their career options during a trip to the County Administration Center.

The department of Human Resources partnered with the Community Services Group to host a career day on March 26. The event began with a talk given by Helen Robbins-Meyer, the Assistant Chief Adminsitrative Officer.

“We want to help the Monarch School provide these young people with bright futures by showing them how to prepare for a career in government or any other area they want to pursue,” said Helen Robbins-Meyer, the County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer.

The Monarch School works with the community and the Office of Education to give the kids coping with homelessness an education and provide basic needs such as healthcare, food and clothing.

The children saw a video presentation by Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., the County’s Public Health Officer, followed by a tour of many departments: the Assessor/Recorder/Clerk to see the marriage room and how the department creates property maps; Media and Public Relations showed the students how vidoes are edited and let them take turns reading a script on the teleprompter; a trip to the basement to see how paychecks are printed and stuffed, as well as a look into an old vault used when the building first opened; and even a visit to Board chambers where they got to sit in the seats of our Supervisors.

After lunch, the tour headed outside where students got to try on a HazMat suit, check out a Sheriff's SWAT vehicle, hop in a Public Works dump truck, and practice their voting skills in a polling booth. They also got to meet Friday the dog, who works with Agriculture, Weights and Measures to sniff out produce and plants shipped into the county, helping them identify pests.

"I learned a lot about a lot of different jobs that you can have at the County building. There's actually over 1,000, and that opens up my opportunities for after going to college in what I want to do," said D'Angelo, one of the students.

The Monarch School estimates there are at least 2,200 homeless kids in San Diego County. The school serves about 130 students in kindergarten through 12th grades, a number that has grown with the downturn in the economy. The school's vice-principal is hoping the school will be able to expand from its current downtown location.

Visit the Monarch School Web site for more information.