Call and Response

By Children Rising | December 6, 2017

Article by Dave Sundman, CareerBridge Program Manager

Principal Steele helping a student with Microsoft Excel.

One of the things Children Rising strives to do is to be responsive to needs expressed by teachers and staff. A month or so into the school year, Principal Betsye Steele of Ralph J. Bunche Academy voiced her concern that, due to scheduling issues, students graduating in December wouldn’t be around to complete CareerBridge’s Business Essentials series, which is 24 hours of instruction spread over many weeks.

With Ms. Steele and other Ralph Bunche staff, program directors Margena Wade-Green and Michelle Hutcherson came up with a condensed version of the series, the majority of which took place in an intensive 6-hour workshop on a Saturday. The Saturday workshop not only simplified the scheduling process but, as Ms. Steele explained, was more impactful because it placed all instruction “into a business management context so that the children could get the full and deepened experience of working in an office and business workplace.”

Stoking the enthusiasm of high school students attending class on a sunny Saturday morning can be a difficult task but we encountered a surprising level of excitement at the Business Administration Certification Workshop. Students were eager to discuss their plans for future businesses ranging from cosmetology studios to restaurants to black-owned financial institutions. They began to see how each subject and skill might play a role in their personal career development. Witnessing their passionate involvement was exciting for all of us instructors.

It was a blessing to see these students realize that being a business owner is an accomplishment within their reach! By listening to and collaborating with Ralph Bunche staff, we were able to serve more students more effectively.


“I can say with confidence that Career Bridge is one of the most effective programs I’ve ever engaged with in 6 years of youth engagement. Our school community is grateful for their expertise and professionalism and look forward to impacting more youth.”

Terrence HollidayWork-Based Learning Liaison at Ralph J. Bunche Academy