By Camille Heard
Every young person started his or her professional career with some uncertainty: What am I going to do with my life? How do I pay for college? Will I be able to get a job when I graduate?
Growing up, my idea of “what I want to be when I grow up” constantly changed. In elementary school, I was determined to be a rollercoaster architect, and by middle school, I thought I was well on my way to becoming the world’s next best rapper—two career ideas that I may re-explore at some point. However, after I enrolled in the University of Pennsylvania for undergraduate studies, I decided to explore the field of health care and public health. I found that this area truly sparked my interests.
This is all to say that the answers do come, but often with self-discovery, exposure to new experiences, hard work, and of course, some help along the way.
This summer, I was honored to oversee WellCare’s second annual youth professional development and training program, hosted in collaboration with Derrick Brooks Charities, Inc. and the City of Tampa’s Parks & Recreation Department.
Through the program, 19 Tampa-area teens, ranging in age from 14 to 17, participated in a five-week training program to help them prepare for successful careers in school and in the workplace. Through weekly, two-hour courses taught by WellCare volunteers, students covered topics such as resume development, interviewing skills, work-life balance, the legislative process, budgeting and saving, and applying for college.
Students also had the opportunity to tour WellCare’s headquarters in Tampa and received certificates of completion during a luncheon and awards ceremony. They also received backpacks filled with back-to-school essentials donated by WellCare employees, as well as gift cards donated by Derrick Brooks Charities.
After several weeks with these students, it was encouraging to hear their career aspirations, which included everything from entering the field of obstetrics and gynecology to political service.
Our luncheon keynote speaker, Darrell Daniels, executive director of Derrick Brooks Charities, said it best, “You can’t achieve if you don’t believe.” I learned this summer that by helping others believe in themselves, you will find a greater sense of belief in yourself.
Above: Class of 2017. Top left: Darel Williams, Lashawna Williams, Nicholas Sayles, Desmine Lacan, Carla Lise, Jordyn Harrison, Dontavious Johnson, Aziyah Freeman, Mario Holmes, Javin Bulmer, Samaria Gant, Kristopher Ali. Bottom left: Dae’zon Yates, Alana Little, Regginae Ashley, Clineshia Myers, Zhania Murray
To view additional photos and highlights from the program and graduation ceremony, visit WellCare’s Facebook page.
Camille Heard is a Public Policy Analyst with WellCare Health Plans.