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June 15, 2016

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Every year, we host (in partnership with our schools) a Senior Day of Action. Senior Day of Action is for high school seniors to learn about options for their future and to connect with the community. This year, we hosted four Senior Days of Action (doubling our amount of SDAs from last year). Our volunteers participate in the half-day event as a way to have meaningful exchanges with students about their future.

During Senior Day of Actions, our students rotate through several activities including an inspirational college alumni panel, interactive workshop on post-secondary planning and 1-1 interviews with our volunteers. Volunteers review students' plans for life after high school, share their college and professional experiences, and provide feedback and ideas about the students' plans for the future. 

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This year, we had a collective 121 individuals volunteer a total of 605 hours during our Senior Days of Action. Our volunteers come from all over the Chicagoland area and offer a wide range of professional and personal expertise to our students. Many of our students walk away from Senior Day of Action with encouraging and insightful mentoring from their volunteer that last long after the day is through. 

"The connection I made that day is something that changed my life forever."

Jonathan Binion, a senior at Sullivan High School, participated in Senior Day of Action in October 2015. There he met Rehka, a former teacher turned nonprofit professional. The two connected instantly. Here is Jonathan's story:

"If you would have asked me my plan at the beginning of the year, I would have told you I wanted to go to New York and major in theatre. I am majoring in theatre, but I will not be attending a school in New York. I will be attending Drake University in the fall. I would have never applied to Drake because I didn't know anything about it until Senior Day of Action. During the mock interviews, I was able to speak to Rehka and she told me all about Drake (her alma mater). She encouraged me to apply and put her name as a reference. I got accepted into the school but still wasn't sure if I would attend. It wasn't until I went to visit the campus that I knew it was where I wanted to be for the next 4 years. I am so grateful that I was able to speak to her. Without her, I wouldn't know where to go. I'm also forever grateful for Umoja and Senior Day of Action. The connection I made on that day is something that changed my life forever."

Senior Day of Action is an incredible way to learn about our students. Umoja is always looking for engaging and caring adults to volunteer. If interested and you would like more information on how you can get involved, please contact Caryn Turgeon, Manager of Individual Giving and Special Events, at cturgeon(at)umojacorporation.org