“Every single thing you do matters. You have been created as one of a kind. You have been created in order to make a difference. You have within you the power to change the world.” Andy Andrews the Butterfly Effect
Tony Dolphin from Westnet Incorporated spoke about the journey to success.
When Rosanna Casavecchia first started her outreach program with Perkins students last year, she could not have imagined that one day there would be a speaker series held monthly that would alter the course of the lives of many young people.
Rosanna, an Occupational Therapist at Perkins, spends time with each high school student working on their transition plan–the plan for what they will do after high school. As part of that plan, Rosanna took a group of six students out into the community and exposed them to various jobs and companies. The students were able to observe people at work and ask questions. The students visited a variety of different types of job sites including manufacturing, technology, film and production, and animals. “I wanted the kids to see that there were options,” Rosanna said. “I also wanted the businesses in the area to meet our kids.”
According to Rosanna, it turns out that the businesses meetings the students attended had a positive effect on both the students and the employees. “For two of our students it was life altering,” Rosanna said. “They left telling me that there was hope that they could have a future.” Through this program several students were able to form a mentorship and continue to learn from the employers they originally visited
Mike Myers and his teammate Patrick Kenrick spoke about film and production.
Brett–a junior at Perkins–is passionate about photography. One of the visits the group made was to the Devens’ Historical Society. As a result of that tour, Brett was able to take a series of photographs that were put together in a small film showcased at the Art in Bloom presentation. He is now in the process of creating patriotic note cards that will be sold at the Devens’ Historical Society
After the great success with the company visits, Rosanna decided that she would like to see more students benefit. Thus, the speaker series was born. To date, there have been four speakers, and the program is expected to be ongoing. The speakers have included well-known names like Mike Myers, Steve Roach and Tony Dolphin. The goal was to have the speakers give a brief talk on what they do, and then the students were offered a question-and-answer session.
The takeaway for the students was different with each speaker, according to Rosanna. Tony Dolphin—who represented the manufacturing sector, was asked how he manages his stress. He answered, “It is about balance. You need to look at your family, learn to network and delegate to your skill set.” Steve Roach stressed that nothing was going to be handed to the students—they would have to work for their desires. Mike Myers emphasized the importance of volunteering. He noted that working for the betterment of others helps to strengthens skills, encourage gratitude and offers a good place to start. All of the speakers to date have felt a need to give back and have passed on the importance of such behavior to the Perkins students.
Steve Roach spoke about vocational opportunities associated with healthcare.
The speaker series is currently targeted for sophomores to seniors, but it is Rosanna’s hope to offer it to students as young as the eighth grade. “Every step in your life journey matters,” Rosanna said. “Take it on with vigor, work hard and know that each step leads to another.”