This has turned into a year like no other, and one we will reflect on for years to come.

But under such challenging circumstances, we can find the best in ourselves and others. We can become more resilient, adaptable and optimistic. And we can encourage those same qualities in our kids.

With resilience, adaptability and especially optimism in mind, this could be an exceptional opportunity to talk with our kids about careers.

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Families are spending more time together, and we could all use some new topics to explore. Why not consider what a bright future could hold? Why not dream a little? And if focusing on those dreams inspires kids to use this time to build on their interests in coding, cooking, carpentry, chemistry or anything at all constructive, so much the better.

Take Your Child to Work Day (TYCTWD) is coming up on Thursday, April 23. With TYCTWD all but impossible to celebrate in a conventional way (no mornings at the office, no tours of the work site), families can access a wealth of online resources and also talk with friends, neighbors and others to learn about different professions.

We launched Career Carnival for Kids last fall to spark those sorts of discussions in a fun and festive setting. We recruited volunteers from 35 different companies, nonprofits, professional associations and schools who brought their enthusiasm and knowledge, along with hands-on activities, games and demonstrations to showcase their respective fields.

At three different venues in Morris County, our dedicated volunteers introduced about 350 young people to an array of jobs across such industries as aviation, engineering, health and wellness, law enforcement, military, technology and more.

We had planned to hold three more Career Carnivals this spring, but for now, they remain on hold. So, we decided that if kids can’t come to Career Carnival, we’ll bring the spirit of Career Carnival to them with online activity sheets, engaging exercises, and a growing library of career profiles featuring Career Carnival volunteers and other supporters. 

We invite families to visit our website and take advantage of the Take Your Child to Work (From Home!) resources we’ve developed. Post on our Facebook page (@CareerCarnivalforKids) to tell us how your family sparked career curiosity on TYCTW(FH!)D or on any day.

Again, this could be a great time to have those career conversations, whether it’s over the dinner table or via Skype, FaceTime or the technology of your choice. The future has the potential to be as bright as ever. Let’s light up the path that helps guide our kids from here to there.