On Sept. 18, Wharton-Smith team members participated in discussions with middle and high school students about careers in construction for Elevate Orlando, a nonprofit on a mission to “build long-term, life-changing relationships with urban youth, equipping them to thrive and contribute to their community.” See more pictures.
The team split up and covered three schools — Oak Ridge High School, Walker Middle School, and Westridge Middle School. Each presentation began with a puzzle. Two volunteers from each class were challenged to put together a small chair from pieces laid out in front of them. They raced against the clock and each other to finish the puzzle. After the game, our team members related the puzzle to construction by asking the students if they enjoyed figuring out how to assemble things or enjoyed working with their hands and seeing a finished product. If so, a construction career might be for them.
A big thank you to Bob McClelland, Director of Business Development; Tom Widener, Project Executive; Christina Garcia, Virtual Construction Manager; David Romero, Project Manager; and Frank Sagarese, Senior Superintendent, for taking the time to talk to these students.
Bob McClelland is on Elevate Orlando’s board and points out that the program mentors at-risk students from elementary school onward and has had a 98 percent cumulative graduation rate over 10 years. “Elevate Orlando believes in a holistic approach. They offer students the tools, personal attention, and hope needed to go on to succeed in college, vocational school, or the military,” he added.