RANDOLPH, NJ- Center Grove Elementary students in grades 3-5 attended Career Carnival for Kids, a new program to spark "career curiosity" among younger students.
Career Carnival for Kids at Center Grove featured volunteers from 22 companies/organizations representing a wide range of industries. Students met professionals from Randolph businesses - Baumwoll Orthodontics, Core Salon, Pediatric Dental Associates, and Weis - and also from American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), Berkeley College, BMW, Goryeb Children's Hospital, HNTB, MPAC, Morristown Airport, Second Melody, and ShopRite.
This impressive volunteer roster included public and nonprofit organizations - US Army, Randolph YMCA, Randolph Police, Morris Sheriff's Office, Morris DPW, Morris 4H, and Scouts BSA - as well as two fabulous freelance artists.
And, as a special treat for the kids, a large crew of juniors from the Morris County School of Technology traveled to Center Grove to showcase some exciting areas of study in the Information Science and Technology program, including robotics and drones.
Many volunteers offered fun and educational hands-on activities for the kids. From creating their own logo with branding experts to braiding hair with professional stylists to creating a "road in a cup" with civil engineers, the students enjoyed opportunities to learn about different jobs and different industries. They held real aviation equipment, experimented with fitness products, and handled some basic medical implements. Some flew drones and others experienced "virtual reality" with state-of-the-art technology.
Students also played educational games, including spinning a wheel to answer questions about working in dentistry and orthodontics and using playing cards to guess "Who Am I?" Among very many medical jobs, many spent quality time with Marty, a certified service dog who "volunteered" alongside Morris 4H's Kathy Murarik.
Career Carnival for Kids was developed by Michelle Hollander, a long-time Randolph resident, and Gina DiDomenico, who also works at the Morris County School of Technology. The two recognized a gap in career-prep resources for students, and agreed that the time to start talking about professional paths was when the students' stakes are low and parents are most engaged in school activities. A series of brainstorming sessions led to the carnival concept: an entertaining and interactive way to educate the next generation of workers.
Michelle and Gina approached Center Grove Principal Mario Rodas in the spring of 2019, and Mr. Rodas and his team not only saw the program's potential but also offered invaluable input. As the event date drew closer, Center Grove admin Mrs. Finland went above-and-beyond in distributing the Career Carnival for Kids materials to teachers, welcoming the 50+ volunteers, and ensuring that the event went smoothly.
The first-ever Career Carnival was held at the Butler Community Center in September, and the Center Grove event - almost double in size - was the first school-based one.
The final Career Carnival for Kids for 2019 will be at Parsippany Library on November 21 from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. Local families are welcome to attend this free event, which will include some of the same companies/organizations that visited Center Grove and also many others.