Additional Ideas for Vocational Services

 Other Opportunities for Vocational Services Projects


It is easier to build children than it is to repair men and women.

The Josephson Institute surveys thousands of high school students each year and asks for candid responses to direct questions (the students’ identities are kept confidential).  While 89 percent of students believe that being a good person is more important than being rich, almost one in three boys and one in four girls admitted stealing from a store within the past year. Moreover, 21 percent admitted they stole something from a parent or other relative, and 18 percent admitted stealing from a friend.  On lying, more than two in five said they sometimes lie to save money. A majority of students (59 percent) admitted cheating on a test during the last year, with 34 percent doing it more than two times. These are the future leaders of our society.  (Can Rotary Clubs sponsor more teens to RYLA?)  Can we think of ways to get youth excited about a particular career (vocation) and then “mentor” them with a map (course of studies) and support?


There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly. --Buckminster Fuller

Rotary has an opportunity to guide and teach young people about various careers. Many young people aren’t sure what to pursue as a career.  Often school can make some youth feel their intelligence is “judged” as inferior (and, by extension, so is their value as a human being) and that they are permanently placed in a “box” with no way out.  Even their peers can alienate them.  Feeling a lack of respect, their initial tendency is to rebel.  They may even join a gang because the gang makes them feel accepted and appreciated.

Nearly 20% of all high school students in California dropped out of high school before graduation day, meaning 94,000 teenagers hit the streets without diplomas, according to the San Jose Mercury-News.  Perhaps more alarming are the 17,000 eighth-grade students who quit before attending a single day of high school.

Overall, 74 percent of high school students graduated on time. The remaining 6 percent who didn't graduate or drop out were students still enrolled in school or who earned a general equivalency diploma. 

In Oakland, it's a significant issue.
Just 53 percent of the district's 3,200 high school students tracked over four years graduated, while 37 percent dropped out.   For African American, Filipino and Hispanic students in the district, the numbers were worse, with fewer than half graduating.  These statistics are dismal and unacceptable.  Maybe Rotary could help… maybe there is an opportunity to help “at-risk” youth to assist them to discover the gifts that they have inside of themselves… their “vocation.”  What “excites” them in terms of “doing something?”  Gangs won’t stand a chance if a young person can pursue their dream of doing “what they were meant to do”… (solve scientific problems… help find a cure for a disease… make mechanical or electrical things work better… delve into the complexities of computers… create poetry or communicate through writing… make a business grow and be successful… do things (acting) that make people laugh or cry… expressing thoughts and ideas and feelings through drawing or painting… caring for others that need assistance…).  How can we make the best of this opportunity to positively influence the future by helping (today) a young member(s) of our community realize what their “calling” is… what vocation can give them a worthwhile and exciting career?


“Future Career” Advisors

Rotarians can offer mentoring to high school students interested in certain careers.  For example, a Rotarian familiar with laser technology could give insight to a student who is also interested in laser technology as to what course of study he/she should follow, identify good colleges and universities they might consider attending, and the like. 

Youth “Career Shadowing” Day

Rotarians would offer hosting, for one day, a high school student (or students) at their workplace.  Briefly, the project allows interested students to observe what an actual day is like in a particular discipline.  For example, a student thinking they would like a career in marketing could get a glimpse of the challenges and goals of a real Marketing Department at the Rotarian’s workplace.  One or more “follow-up” meetings with the student(s) would allow a question and answer session to clarify their experience.


Regarding Business Men and Women…The District 5170 Yellow Pages​

This is an outstanding opportunity!  Each Rotary Club has a fantastic opportunity to expand knowledge of each of their members’ business interests through actively sharing our life’s work and business activity.  At meetings, we Rotarians introduce ourselves with our name and our “classification” so we each come to know what others do in their “calling,” in their life’s work.  The District 5170 Yellow Pages allows us to share that information to all of our other Rotarian friends in the District… over 4000 business people!  We should do business with each other!  If our vocation (i.e. passion) is embraced by our fellow Rotarians (whom we trust), then there is so much more opportunity we could offer not only to our fellow Rotarians, but certainly to those in our community!  

Business Ethics

Rotary has an opportunity to contribute to the health of our business community. Business ethics needs to be kept in our community’s awareness.  Not only has Enron (Kenneth Lay) and Bernie Madoff made the news because of corruption, but, too, Honey Bear Postal Service (Sunnyvale) owner is recently charged with cheating his customers.  There is the very recent scandal regarding Claremont-McKenna College, bumping up students’ test scores so the College would be rated higher.  Unethical behavior can happen in our own backyard. 

Perhaps a Rotary Club would have the desire and opportunity to create a “Rotary Business Ethics Conference” for the business leaders of their community.  Are there other opportunities to emphasize “business ethics?”  Would the Chamber of Commerce be interested in partnering in this endeavor?  The awareness of Rotarians following The Four-Way Test should give our community the confidence and faith and trust and “insurance” that Rotary represents solid values.  Plain and simple—Rotarian Business men and women treat people fairly and honestly, and that is a nice message to take into our community.