Twenty-five Macon County eleventh grade students are part of a mentoring program with a dozen Auburn University students and graduate assistant Raven Conwell. The project is funded in part by the Appalachian Regional Commission, and the work these students do together revolves around workplace and college readiness. Our meeting on Thursday, December 8 at the Pleasant Grove Missionary Baptist Church (on Highway 81 between Notasulga and Tuskegee) was the last session of the semester. Our partnering organization Bridge Builders Alabama will host a Holiday party in Montgomery on December 15.
“You only have one chance to make a first impression.” That was the motto for our work tonight, and students had the chance to make their best first impression on several potential part-time employers. We were pleased to have the following individuals represent very important community-based organizations in Tuskegee: Bettye Morgan, Tuskegee-Macon County Public Library; John Pulliam, Macon County Extension; Cheryl Ferguson, Tuskegee University Archives; Guy Trammell, Tuskegee Youth Safe Haven; and Rev. Rondey Thornton, Divine Inspiration Ministries. We set up interview stations in the sanctuary, and we even made a makeshift table out of stereo speakers in a room beside the kitchen.
Students showed up dressed for success, most with resumes and cover letters in hand. Students will be offered a part-time job to begin work with one of the organizations in January. Our community organization partners are more than employers. They are dedicated individuals who care about their work and want to use this opportunity to develop lifelong skills in young people. Each organization contributes to the wellbeing of people in Macon County in some important way, and the opportunity to gain work experience, earn money, and learn about the work of an organization is a combination that should pay back dividends to us all.
Congratulations to our Auburn University mentors who helped prepare our students to make excellent first impressions! We all look forward to reflecting on first-time work experiences, learning about money management, and continuing our journey in the spring semester.