By Meg Brinckman

On May 11, students from pre-K to fifth grade at Amidon-Bowen Elementary School were introduced to a broad spectrum of the world of work. Representatives from the D.C. Metropolitan Police and Fire departments, Metrobus and Social Security Commission, along with a mental health counselor and author, drug counselor, hair stylist, chef and cowboy, visited classrooms and explained how they earn their livings.

Lester M. Austin, Senior Public Affairs Specialist at the Social Security Administration, explained that we all have something in common — a Social Security number.  He asked students to make sure that theirs is in a safe place and reminded them that they are never to give it to someone they don’t know.

Jevon Hargett, the Chef/Owner of Uptown Occasions Caterings, spoke about careers in food service and the possibility of one day owning your own company.

Joy Jones, representing the Psychiatric Institute of Washington, talked about careers in mental health care and also introduced the children to the world of writing books.  She talked about the way an author and an illustrator have to give each other the opportunity to do their jobs so that the collaboration can be successful.

Deborah Stewart is a social worker/drug counselor who works for the Department of Justice Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency.  She also talked about the Federal Women’s Program.

Willis Daniels, a Metrobus driver, said Metro’s first priority is safety, and that every student has a part in making that happen.  He went over basic safety rules and told them that being a good student now could lead to a rewarding career as a Metrobus driver when they are 21.  He also talked about how Metro’s hybrid, “green “ buses save fuel and are good for the environment.

Always a favorite, the D.C. Metropolitan Fire Department from the Sixth Street SW Station, brought a shiny new fire truck.   Sgt. Lee and Firefighters Artz, Pratt, Turner and Wilson showed the students the gear firefighters wear to every fire.  They reminded students that if they are ever in a fire and see a person dressed in this gear coming toward them, they are not to be frightened, but to know the firefighter is there to help.  They also stressed the importance of listening, as firefighters have to listen carefully to radios and their supervisors to make sure everyone does his job and is safe.
L. E. Cureton of the Metropolitan Police Department showed students the many types of equipment police officers carry in their vehicles.  They have to be to be ready to deal with the situations as diverse as an injured animal or a flat tire on their own vehicle as well as crimes.

Jamaal Neuman and Amber Ross from “Bar Ber & Stylist” showed the classes the  “tools “ of their trade and talked about the knowledge one has to have to correctly use the equipment and understand how to properly treat various kinds of hair.

Bruce “Bronco” Drummond, his wife, Rita, and son, Alex, provided insight into perhaps the most unusual career of the day.  They operate “Coco’s Corral” near Brandywine, MD, where children of all ages ride horses and gain understanding of the importance of the outdoors.  They brought along a hand-tooled Mexican saddle. Alex and Bronco explained how each part of the saddle has a purpose for the rider.  They were not able to bring Coco, the pony for which the Corral is named, but they did bring Angie, a white Cockatoo who charmed all with her beautiful plumage and her “Hello” to the group.

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