Yves Chambaz Fall 2018 Blog

by Yves Chambaz, December 19, 2018

This fall quarter I took the lead in a project for the Eta Sigma Delta (ESD) chapter at Kendall College.  It required us to organize an event, supported by the ESD, and involve current students from the Goose Island campus.  The event needed to have a positive impact in the community, or contribute to it in some way.

I reached out to Emily Walters, the volunteer coordinator at the non-profit organization I work for, After School Matters.  I spoke to her about inviting a couple of Kendall students to speak with a group of teens enrolled in culinary and baking and pastry programs.  Suddenly, the conversation grew into a panel of seniors and professionals, all the schools of culinary arts, baking and pastry, hospitality management and business.  The intention of the panel was to show the teens the many different career opportunities that they can find at Kendall College and the interrelations between them.

The seed was planted.  All I needed was to find volunteers, willing and able to fit this event into their schedules.  Finding a date and time was a bit challenging.  But after surveying both sides, speakers, and attendees, Friday at the end of the day seemed to be the best option.  Great!  We booked the date, November 30th, at 5:30 pm.  One day before the open house at Kendall College.  The location, The Michael & Karyn Lutz Center in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood.  Two groups were attending, totaling almost 50 teen apprentices!  Six volunteers, from all schools, were confirmed.  We were all set and the outlook could not have been better.

During the week of the event, the unthinkable became my worst fear.  One group of apprentices cancelled, as well as two of the volunteers.  The location was no longer suitable.  Last minute commitments could translate into canceling the whole event.  All that time invested, and all those people involved.  But we still had one group willing to attend, and four speakers.  All we needed to do, was to find a different location and communicate it to everyone.  After a few emails back and forth, and some time and patience, we confirmed a new meeting place.  Everyone was still onboard.  We were all set.  Again.

Eventually, it all went well, I mean, it all went great!  Emily moderated the panel while I took a chair on it to tell my story to the group.  Next to me was Jefferson Rodriguez-Martinez, a former apprentice in the program and current student at Kendall and a KCT scholarship recipient.  One of my team partners at the Capstone project, and another Venezuelan student as myself.  The apprentices asked a lot of questions and I was thrilled to bridge the gap between my students and my peers at college.

Now, I see this project as a pilot for a recurrent professional panel, led by senior college students and geared toward high school teens.  One that can keep the lines of communication open on what it means to transition to higher education; its expectations and challenges, and the doors it can open.

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