October 31st, 2020

Female students find options for future through World of Choices


By Bobinec, Greg on November 7, 2019.

Studio photographer Melanie Cervo, from Photo Expressions, watches Kylie Cronk take a picture of her Chinook High School classmate Islie Mills during the World of Choices career forum Wednesday at the Enmax Centre. Herald photo by Ian Martens @IMartensHerald

Greg Bobinec

Lethbridge Herald

gbobinec@lethbridgeherald.com

For the last two decades, Junior Achievement Southern Alberta has provided young high school girls with an opportunity to meet with mentors in different career backgrounds to see and learn about where their potential can bring them in the future.

The World of Choices event brings women leaders from traditional and non-traditional fields together with over 200 young women looking to their future to spark inspiration, and JASA says it is an opportunity for them to learn about working in the real world.

“Today is our World of Choices event where we have career mentors to meet with students from 12 different schools,” says Shelly Flexhaug, regional co-ordinator for Lethbridge & Area with Junior Achievement Southern Alberta, during an event at the Enmax Centre Wednesday. “The students get to sit down and meet and have conversations about life in the real world, what a day is like in their positions, challenges, what training they have so that students can meet face-to-face with the mentors and learn more about their jobs.”

For more than 20 years, JASA has paired thousands of local high school girls from Lethbridge, Coaldale, Coalhurst, Taber and other surrounding communities with inspirational female industry leaders. Flexhaug says the mentorship the young girls receive from World of Choices can be beneficial toward life decisions they will have to make in years to come, such as post-secondary education.

“The event started out for girls only and has remained girls only. We like to provide traditional and non-traditional so that girls are exposed to a variety of different careers to see that women can be successful in a field that is typically filled with men,” says Flexhaug. “We like to start in high school early so that if they do want to make any changes to their schedule for Grades 11 and 12 that they still have the opportunity to do that. If their idea for careers shifts they can change their choices all the way up to Grade 12 so that when they are planning for their post-secondary, they have those choices entering into college, university or apprenticeship.”

Special to this year’s event was keynote speaker Haley Daniels, Canadian Olympic canoe/kayaker. During World of Choices, students were able to pick Daniels’ brain about her achievements and hard work she needed to get to where she is today.

“We have an Olympic athlete who is our keynote speaker, the RBC-sponsored Olympian who is going to Tokyo 2020 which is pretty exciting,” says Flexhaug. “Haley Daniels has just come back from Tokyo and is going again in the next couple weeks, so all the training that she has done and is doing to become an Olympic athlete is what she will be speaking about to the girls.”

Junior Achievement Southern Alberta has been educating youth about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workplace readiness for 60 years. As World of Choices celebrates its 20th year, they also celebrate the mentorship they have given local high school girls to help them achieve their dreams.

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