Grade nine students learn about work and York

Take Our Kids to Work Day is a national program of The Learning Partnership and has existed since 1994. Each year, hundreds of thousands of grade nine students across Canada spend one day at work with their parents or other relatives.

Left: Grade nine students Amaka Ene (front, left), Elizabeth Ridley (next to Ene) and Jaalil Jones (second on the right) enjoy a pizza lunch with Onyi Ene (front, right), York admissions counsellor and mother of Amaka

At York University, Take Our Kids to Work Day not only lets students experience their parents’ careers firsthand, it also gives them a sneak preview of university life. On Wednesday, Nov. 1, more than 70 grade nine attended York University’s Take Our Kids to Work Day.

The day began with an orientation session which provided a glimpse of student life at York University. Following orientation, the students were divided up into groups and were treated to a tour of the campus. Students and their parents were then provided with a free pizza lunch in the Atkinson cafeteria. During the afternoon, they joined their parents in the office to experience the working world.

Impressed by York’s number and variety of extracurricular activities, many of the students were amazed by the vast size of the Keele campus. “We learned a lot about all of the clubs and the costs of going to university,” said Grade 9 student Amaka Ene, daughter of York admissions counsellor Onyi Ene.

Right: Katey Shum (left) with her father Raymond Shum, library systems administrator

Katey Shum, who attends Woburn Collegiate, also marvelled at the University’s size. “I didn’t know the campus would be this big,” she said.

After touring and learning about the campus, both Ene and Shum thought York would be a good place to attend university. Others, including Ariel Abulafia, who had not previously thought about attending university, became interested in applying. “After seeing the course selection, I’m really thinking of applying to York when the time comes,” says Abulafia, who attends William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute in North York, Ont. Abulafia came to York with her aunt, Esther Boaron of the Registrar’s Office.

Left: Ariel Abulafia (left) with her aunt Esther Boaron

“I think its wonderful,” says Boaron of the annual event. “It allows students to experience their parent’s work, while also giving them a sneak peek of life at York University.”

The event gave students the opportunity to make new friends from other schools while reuniting with old friends. “My daughter met many new people today, but it was especially surprising when she met with children she had lost touch with over the years,” said Ene.

“This gave our children a chance to get to know our work environment,” noted Raymond Shum, library systems administrator. “It’s one thing for us to tell them about it, but having my daughter actually see my workplace is a great opportunity.”

Stephanie Marston, manager, Temporary Use of University Space, Office of the Vice-President Finance, was one of the organizers of the event. She made note of its success this year. “Take Our Kids to Work Day 2006 saw higher numbers than in previous years,” she said. “Working together with Steve Pottle, insurance & risk analyst; Shelby Verboven, manager, on-campus recruitment & special events; and Marion Hissa, manager of administrative services for Human Resources, we built on the success of last year’s event and were very happy with the turn-out.”

Story and photos by Bethany Hansraj, a student assistant in the Publications unit of York’s Marketing & Communications Division.