Walk into My Future 2019
Article by KPC Media | KPC News | August 9, 2019
FORT WAYNE — More than 2,200 DeKalb County children in kindergarten through grade 3 will engage in multiple hands-on learning activities at Ivy Tech Community College on Friday, Sept. 20, as they participate in the DeKalb County Promise Walk Into My Future.
The age-appropriate experience aims to help young children gain ideas of what they can aspire to after completing high school.
Students from kindergarten to third grade countywide will have the opportunity to interact with members of the Ivy Tech community as they move through career stations hosted by Ivy Tech students and faculty and the DeKalb County community.
Citing the importance of such an experience, Clint Kugler, CEO of Wabash County YMCA and cofounder of Promise Indiana, said, “Giving young children that personal experience of imagining they are a (post-high school) student plants the seed of a dream for their future. It helps change a child’s identity.”
With planning by Ivy Tech staff and faculty underway, working in tandem with DeKalb County’s community-wide Walk Planning Committee, these Ivy Tech Schools will be hosting career stations: Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Arts, Sciences and Education; Business, Logistics and Supply Chain; Enrollment Services; Health Sciences; Information Technology; Nursing; Public Affairs and Social Services; and Student Success.
The Walk Into My Future event is one of three components of DeKalb County Promise. DeKalb County families can enroll their children from age 4 to grade 12, in 529 career savings accounts at no cost, receiving an initial $25 enrollment incentive. Classroom teachers also serve an important role helping children build their “future stories,” by including career-focused activities in their classrooms. The goal is setting the expectation that learning beyond high school, such as attending a trade school, earning a work skill certification or going to college, is important for family-sustaining jobs of the future.
DeKalb County Promise is a partnership between the Community Foundation, DeKalb County Central, DeKalb County Eastern and Garrett-Keyser-Butler public school districts, Lakewood Park and St. Joseph Catholic private schools and the home school community of DeKalb County.
Numerous other community organizations are behind the effort, including Ambassador Enterprises, the Cole Foundation, Community Foundation DeKalb County, DeKalb Health, Eckhart Public Library, Junior Achievement, The James Foundation, United Way DeKalb County, and the YMCA, among others. More than 30 regional organizations are working together to benefit DeKalb County children and families.
“We want to build hope for future careers for DeKalb County students at an early age, and not just for college. There are rewarding careers across manufacturing, life sciences, agriculture and more key industries in northeast Indiana that do not require a four-year degree, but do require post-high school education. The Walk is where dreams can begin,” said Matt Bechdol, president of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County Board of Directors and a Promise champion.
“DeKalb County Promise is an inspiring opportunity for families to focus on their children’s futures. It is a great way to show children that their family, friends, and the DeKalb County community care and believe in them,” said Tanya Young, executive director of the Community Foundation of DeKalb County.
Numerous sponsorship opportunities are available, including helping fund T-shirts, transportation, signage, etc. To learn how an individual or organization can contribute or be recognized, people may call Judy Sorg or Tanya Young at the Community Foundation, 925-0311, or email JSorg@CFDeKalb.org with questions or for a menu of sponsorship opportunities. More information about DeKalb County Promise is online at DeKalbCountyPromise.org or by following DeKalb County Promise on Facebook and Instagram @DeKalbCountyPromise.