County employees take kids to work for a day
Kids in Washington County put their hard hats and reflective vests on and played hooky for the day on Thursday, April 26.
It was national "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day," and Washington County Land Use & Transportation participated with a packed agenda for the kids and their parents.
Diane Overstreet, who works in communications at LUT, coordinated the day, where participants spent the day traveling around the county, visiting various sites in order to learn about some of their parent's jobs.
Twenty-two students and 11 employees started off with a visit to Walnut Street Center to learn about street sign making. From there, they traveled to the Four County Point Trailhead where they heard from a survey technician, to L.L. "Stub" Stewart Memorial State Park to meet with a park ranger, to Buxton Trestle to see the railroad-turned-walking bridge, and finally to the 185th Avenue and Springville Road construction project north of Hillsboro, where they met the project manager.
"Each one of our things that we incorporate show the kids what we do on the job," Overstreet told me. "It interests them sometimes in maybe looking at one of our areas of our department as a potential job in their future. Also, it helps them understand what their parents are doing each day."
LUT has run the program for about 18 years, Overstreet said, and every year, it seems to be more popular, this year maxing out for the first time. Each year, kids have left informed and inspired, Overstreet said.
"When you (first) ask them what they want to be in real life, they want to be football players and superheroes, (but) by the end of the day, they wanted to be dump truck drivers and planners and sign makers," Overstreet said. "So it changes their perception from what they maybe have picked up from t.v. or computers, to what reality is."
Second-grader Laila Rivera joined her grandfather Robert Rivera, who works in construction for LUT.
"I think it's a fun adventure," Laila said, "and I think it's fun to notice other things you didn't notice before."
Robert Rivera has brought his grandchildren to the department's big day for the last two years, he told me.
"Their parents are really busy and I'm at a point where I can flex my schedule and take them," Rivera said. "It's wonderful. They get to see some of the construction sites, some survey monuments and they get to see what we do."
Fourth-grader Amanda Dawson is also a returning participant to the annual event.
"Today, I just wanted to learn about my dad's work," Amanda said.
And what did Amanda learn about her dad's work?
"That he has to walk a lot," she answered.
By Olivia Singer
Reporter, Forest Grove News-Times and Hillsboro Tribune
Follow Olivia at @oliviasingerr
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