Preparing for college is a daunting task. It is filled with its own mind-bending obscenities and drags.
The experience of prepping can be like wading through a vast ocean on your meager raft. It is confusing and there is often no guide to help navigate life and college. Our teenage years are confounding and complicated with several intricacies to weave in and out. A relatively young non-profit volunteer group called Young People of the Next Generation or YPNG recognizes that in order to ensure a better America we need to invest in our young people right now.
Bill Langdon, founder and president of YPNG says, “There are various studies that show between 2025 to 2028 all new jobs will require some education beyond high school.”
YPNG supplements our education system with accomplished mentors in a variety of fields such as engineering, hospitality, medicine, computer science, business, etc. These mentors are real-life professionals who counsel and guide students to a productive career path.
One of these mentors, Athia Edwards, helps kids interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) find a path toward a career in engineering. Edwards is a relatively new in the engineering field and is using her spare time to help inspire the next generation of engineers. “Introducing STEM in the classrooms whether its learning facts about STEM or engaging in STEM activities is a great way to get kids inspired in STEM,” says Edwards.
The YPNG mentors’ hosts come from diverse walks of life. “We have mentors who came from similar backgrounds and neighborhoods as the students, says Langdon. Seeing yourself reflected in success will inspire kids to achieve their own version of success. “We want to reach people who are good role models as well as students who… who [will be] are good peer to peer role models.”
Education will become increasingly important as the jobs of the future require some level of higher education. Whether that be some college, or a full-fledged doctoral education is becoming more valuable to the future of our current students.
If anyone is curious and wants to discover an exciting career, they can go to the YPNG website and listen to several different podcasts where actual students interview one of YPNG’s mentors.
The podcast features several different people with several different careers. You can listen to experiences from surgeons, businessmen, educators, paramedics, and many more. Students play the role of interviewer for these podcasts. This allows the student to probe questions that may relate to a student in a way that any other interviewer could.
YPNG also offers bilingual support for parents who may not be able to write or read English.
“We have instructional video for parents on the site in English and Spanish,” says Langdon. YPNG is also working on a group of volunteers to work with parents, English-speaking or not, with the forms that their kids will need to ensure financial and college success.
Young People of the Next Generation has worked with students at McLain High School, who were “considered at risk when they were in eighth grade,” says Landon. They later became seniors and all of them are going to college. One was able to go to Booker T. Washington after they improved their grades.
“She is graduating second in her class and has been accepted to Harvard.”