Exploring Careers, Community, and Connection

This summer, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas’ partner SID Centers Inc. held its first Austin ‘Indulge’ event for the youth they serve, as well as BBBS matches and mentees.

Indulge is a two-day event that provides young adults with the opportunity to gain career information, advice, and training from local businesses in the community. Participants learned about various career paths and participated in skill-building opportunities through workshops led by local businesses and community members.

“The event was phenomenal,” SID Centers CEO and Founder DeJuwuan Pope said. “From start to finish, the staff and students had a very impactful experience.”

Indulge provides youth with a valuable opportunity to learn more about career options they might never have considered.

Ten different businesses in Austin came together to provide mentees with an experience they won’t soon forget.

Big Sister Gabby attended Indulge with her Little Sister Aubrey.

“We learned a lot about different careers and avenues for reaching each one,” Gabby said. “Everyone we heard from took different paths that brought them to their current role, and it was cool to see the passion and purpose they put into their jobs! It was really motivating and inspiring for both myself and my Little Sister. Life is not always a straightforward path.”

Career exploration partners included Austin Community College Highland; Contour Collective; Cross Fit Rep; the HEB on Parmer and I-35; JB Goodwin Realtors; Roffler School of Hair Design; and Skinny’s Barber Shop.

Event sponsors included AMC Lakeline 9; Jim Jim’s Water Ice; Kerby Lane Cafe; Main Event; and Raising Canes.

BBBS’ Big Futures coordinator Christina Eisenlord said that each business presentation created excitement for mentees.

“The youth and young adults got so much out of the experience,” Christina said. “It was a great way to plant those career seeds early and open doors for them. The best part was seeing how the social component of the event helped the students. It was a chance for them to explore and create new social connections.”

DeJuwuan expects to see many more events like Indulge in the future. His organization is already planning for Austin Indulge 2023, with the hope of creating an annual event.

“We are also starting to coordinate ‘Hangouts,’ an effort SID Centers started in California, to bring young adults together weekly to build relationships, community, and self-growth. We are planning on starting the Central Texas program here in the fall.”

In addition to learning from local professionals, Indulge attendees enjoyed some social time as well. Participants had the chance to have a big breakfast provided by Kerby Lane Cafe, play laser tag at Main Event in North Austin, and watch a movie at AMC.

“I don’t know of anything else like this,” Christina said. “Seeing mentees interact, have fun, and learn, made it all worth it.”

In addition to career exploration, however, this special event created something more: a sense of possibility, community, and hope.

“I remember a single mother of two, who lives in Leander, who signed her sons up for the program just two weeks before the event,” DeJuwuan said. Afterwards, one of the young men thanked him for creating an event that gave him an opportunity to spend time with others who look like him and for fostering a sense of community and belonging.

“That is why we exist, to create a community where everyone feels they belong. As young adults grow older, they can feel lost without resources and a support hub. Creating an atmosphere of inclusion and acceptance attracts people who want to feel like they are a part of something.”

Together, we can provide more young people with opportunities to discover not only their future careers and career paths, but a greater sense of who they are and their significance in the world.

We look forward to continuing to work with SID Centers and our other community partners to help more young people create their biggest possible futures.

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