Some current and former Oakland Craig students were center stage at the Get Connected conference in Omaha last Friday. Get Connected brings together after school professionals and provides an opportunity to learn more about planning and implementing a high-quality after-school or summer program.
Bright Knights staff, Emma Johansen and Lillian Ehlers, along with former staff member, Reese Johnson, who recently graduated high school last spring, co-led a presentation with former Bright Knights director, Alana Pearson.
Our presentation was focused on successes and challenges we’ve faced as high school staff members, as well as bringing up important issues like the importance of training and being flexible when working with their busy schedules. Hearing from our young people directly is important as we continue to grow our program.
Like many industries across the country, we are seeing a shortage of qualified staff members to work in our programs, so we are looking for innovative ways to increase our workforce. Bringing on high school students as staff members has many perks for them, including learning valuable work and leadership skills as well as finding a potential career path. In contrast, some students have stated that since working in the program they learned they did not want to be a teacher, but are now pursuing a career in other areas like human services. High school staff need supportive adults to help mentor them along the way, so certified teachers are stepping up to help lead clubs and grow our high school workforce.
Running a high-quality after-school program takes so many people, including teachers, paraprofessionals, high school students and community partners. We are always looking for people in the community to volunteer their time. If you have skills and hobbies you’d like to share with young people, please contact directors Amanda Wilson at 402-685-5661 or Elizabeth Swanson at 402-277-0776.