Photo Caption: Union County participated in National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day last month. Union County Freeholder Nancy Ward brought her daughter Josielee, age 2-1/2 (center right), and her nieces Josiejames (far left) and Savannah Conway (center left) to attend a public meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders on April 28.
A Day to Build Bonds with Families and Communities
by Nancy Ward
Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders
From its small beginnings almost twenty years ago, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day has grown into one of the best known public awareness campaigns in America. This year, Union County residents joined with more than 35 million participants across the country to bring boys and girls together in the working world, to explore new horizons and open new doors to the future.
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day has become such as significant event that the United States Senate adopted a resolution this year, commending the participants for their service in “promoting and ensuring a brighter, stronger future for the United States.”
As a member of the Union County Freeholder Board, I welcomed the opportunity to bring my two-year-old daughter Josielee to our public meeting on April 28, along with my nieces Savannah (age 7) and Josiejames (age 8). It turned out to be a learning experience for me as much as it was for them.
I always thought of this event as a wonderful opportunity for parents to strengthen bonds with their children and introduce them to the responsibilities and new adventures that await them as adults. Now I realize that it means much more.
For my daughter and nieces, the workplace experience turned into a unique encounter with the community that they will occupy as they grow into adulthood. They had a chance to step out of the familiar routine of school, neighborhood and family, and enter a world that reflects the diversity and liveliness of neighborhoods all across Union County.
At the meeting, the Freeholder Board honored two groups of students who had participated in the county’s Arbor Day Poetry Contest and Consumer Bowl competition. My family got to see how the contributions of young people in Union County are respected and valued by adults, and my daughter was able to identify the Union County seal behind the dais, which she recognized from her replica refrigerator magnets at home, thereby making the connection between home and community even at her young age.
My nieces certainly gained a new appreciation for their potential to make an impact in their community, and they shared their experiences with classmates at school the next day. They were able to see how in this day and age every door can be opened. There are many different roads that can be taken to achieve a goal in life. If you can think it, then you can do it – and you can be it.
Part of the goal of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work is to encourage adults to reach out to other families with a message of encouragement and support, so I also appreciated the thoughtfulness and enthusiasm displayed by the many Union County employees who welcomed children into their workplaces from other families as well as their own.
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is now coordinated by a nonprofit organization, and it assists groups from countries all around the globe in starting up similar programs. That’s a strong testimony to the universal message, of adults reaching out to help a younger generation find its place in a changing world. It makes me very proud to know that this unique American invention is valued the world over.
Above all, I came away from Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day with a renewed appreciation for the importance of helping all children to enter the working world with full confidence in their own potential. Your roots are in your family, but work is where we grow wings that can take us anywhere.
I am looking forward to bringing my family to work again next year, and I hope you will join me.