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Martha's Vineyard Youth Leader Initiative Shadow Day 2013

Encouraging Martha's Vineyard youth to pursue their career dreams.

The Martha’s Vineyard Youth Leadership Initiative is hosting its 3rd Annual Job Shadow Day on February 1.

Each February, the National Groundhog Job Shadow Day, a national campaign giving youth a new perspective on their studies with hands-on learning and one-day mentoring experience, engages and matches Vineyard youth with companies and professionals to have first hand experience about careers in their fields of interest.

This year MVYLI youth aspire to become event planners and marketing directors, college professors, software designers, business owners and business technology managers, photographers, physical therapists, sign language specialists, public relations/communications associates, international affairs specialists, political science consultants, CSI forensic specialists and United Nations translators.

Their goal is to give Martha's Vineyard youth a positive experience of the world of work, promote a good work ethic, and develop long lasting relationships that contribute to the island and global economy.  For some MVYLI youth, it’s an eye-opening and life-changing experience.  

Here is a snapshot of a few of the students MVYLI engagements:

Sivana Brown is excited to learn from Elizabeth Rothwell, Marketing and Events Director at The Harbor View Hotel.  Sivana will assist with The Scottish Society’s annual event – men in kilts  – at its February 1 gathering.  She will also arrange the MVYLI Job Shadow Day Reception for all youth, mentors, parents and supporters.

Randi Baird Photography is mentoring Willoe Maynard who will learn the ropes of the industry and then take a few shots of the reception.  Baird has often hosted MVYLI’s Youth Leadership Summit at the Island Co-Housing.

When Lucas Amirans expressed an interest in marketing, MVYLI reached out to the community for great ideas. Dreamland’s Kitty Salvage suggested MV Museum’s marketing director Katy Fuller (she had an event that night) and Phil DaRosa (also had event). Kat McCourt recommended award winning JB Blau (off-island that day).  Given Lucas outgoing personality and performances with the Minnesingers and the MVRHS’s annual musical, the perfect match was finally found: Martha’s Vineyard Film Society’s Richard Paradise.

Liz Witham, Film-Truth Productions first met Shavanae Anderson at the MV International Film Festival where both of their videos were featured in the 'Think Global, Act Local Shorts'.  Since she aspires to become a pediatrician, Anderson has shadowed doctors at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for the last two years. Her first experience with MVYLI was as an intern at MVTV. Following than an accomplished video producer inspired her to minor in communications in college.

“It is wonderful to see the sparks ignite in each MVYLI youth member as they talk about going to college and their future careers!” says MVYLI’s Project Coordinator, Saundra Hart Johnson.  “I am continually amazed at the determination of each student and the ability of these youth to support each other through every task. We've got a really great group!”

This year several high-powered matches were realized in Boston, with Senator John Kerry’s communications director and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s office manager. 

Last summer Mary Ollen volunteered at an event in Vineyard Haven in honor of Elizabeth Warren.  Working along-side Senator Warren’s brand new office manager as a dream come true.  Mary wants to pursue a career in political science or law and “hopes to one day to be a senator and who knows, maybe even the President of the United States!”

At the 2012 MVYLI Youth Leadership Summit, Lucy Norris changed her career goal to a more international field.  For Job Shadow Day she was matched with the Consul General of Spain in Boston. 

“He's been a Consul General for Spain in eight countries including Algeria, Morocco, Argentina, Spain, France and the U.S. Very cool,” said Lucy. “In February I will travel to Argentina with the American Friends Society.  I am very excited to embark on this endeavor – and hope that it brings me one step closer to my dreams.”

An aspiring sign language therapist, Isabelle Wadleigh is eager to learn from Alecia Barnes, developmental specialist, Martha’s Vineyard coordinator, and certified early intervention specialist.  

This year MVYLI organized its first virtual Job Shadow Day experience with software designer Ellen Leverenz dazzling aspiring James Roddy with an online tour of the Apache Software Foundation

Some matches are pending schedules -- the Edgartown Police Department is awaiting Lilly Neville’s return from a semester in Spain.  She aspires to become an under cover agent.

Last year, Jacob Lawrence said that shadowing Brian Bilsback at PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) was “the best day of my life.” 

When he served as master of ceremonies for the MVYLI Multicultural Assembly at MVRHS, he decided to explore the world of public relations.  This year, Jacob shadowed Senator John Kerry’s Communications Director, Nicole Caravella who has worked in both the public and private sectors.

“The day was one that I will remember for a long time,” said Jacob.

Last year, Julia Cooper was curious about the world of sustainable architecture.  Matched with Ryan Bushey at the South Mountain Company, Julia was fascinated with this hands-on experience. Shadow Day helped her to see that what she really wanted was a more people-oriented career.  This year, Julia is exploring the life of a college professor with John Kennedy from LaSalle University of Philadelphia

For some, this "one day" becomes a valuable mentor.

Charlie Pikor is interested in combining his interests in business management and technology.  He was excited to spend an afternoon with seasonal resident John Klein.  Pikor was most impressed with John’s words of wisdom. 

“He shared how he had worked hard for many years, especially when he was younger,” said Pikor.

Their time together made a lasting impression.  He was grateful to John for thinking of him, sending an inspiring article 8 Habits Remarkably Successful People Do.

For some it turns into a real job. In 2011, Anthony Piland was matched with Colin Ewing, Cape Air.  An aspiring airline pilot, Anthony works summers at Cape Air, while continuing his studies at Bridgewater State University.

“The MVYLI youth are so passionate and clearly feel empowered through their involvement with our programs,” said Anna Luckey, MVYLI’s development director. “It is inspiring to be around them and encouraging to know they will be our future leaders! We are grateful for the support of the Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, the Permanent Endowment of Martha’s Vineyard and The Harbor View Hotel.”

“We are exposing their young minds to inspiring leaders, opening doors and expanding their horizons,” said Marianne Larned, MVYLI’s executive director.   “We invite people to join with us in investing in these young people to become leaders of a sustainable world.”

The Harbor View Hotel is hosting a reception on Friday, February 1, following MVYLI Shadow Day, from 5:30pm - 6:30 p.m.

MVYLI youth and mentors will share their personal experiences; families, friends and supporters are welcome. Come and be inspired as these young people pursue their dreams!  For more information visit www.mvyli.org or visit the Martha's Vineyard Youth Leader Initiative's Facebook page.

Editor's Note: This article was adapted from a press release. 

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