Reporter's Blog

Saucier's Volunteer Work Aims to Educate

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Editor's note: The goal behind features like September's "Why These Regional Schools Added Quick Lube Courses" is to highlight the work that various organizations do to train the next generation of techs, managers, owners and others. Of course, so much interest in an automotive career starts at the high school level.

When NOLN columnist Lenny Saucier mentioned that he had recently volunteered at Fontainebleau High School in Mandeville La., we asked that he share some words about the experience.

 

March 26, 2020—High School. College. Grad School. This seems to be the growing theme as today's youth are challenged with how and where they will start their lives.

For many, it's getting past that first step that's the most challenging. There are students who struggle to get through high school for a number of reasons, including home and personal life, studying techniques and a lack of support from peers.

JAG (Jobs for Americas Graduates) is a national nonprofit program that works with high school students who might initially have a tough time in school and have few plans for higher education. This program aims to build leadership, job skills, interviewing, budgeting and other essential life skills. The hope is to instill an idea of life after high school, while supporting and uplifting their current understanding of life inside high school. JAG invites members of the community to speak as well.Lenny at JAG

Growing up, I would have been the poster child for this group. I am the youngest of 4 boys that was supported by a hard working mom and abandoned by our father. I played football and didn't have to study to carry a good GPA. Moving to another school, I did not play ball and realized that i didn't know how to study, so my GPA dropped.

As a senior in high school, my girlfriend was pregnant and I started working. I ended up failing a half-credit of chemistry and was forced to stay behind a year. The school suggested that I could drop out and get my GED. While I liked the idea, the first summer in fatherhood supporting a kid and girlfriend was not a pleasant one. I went back the next year and graduated, keeping my head low and getting one hour of class done in the morning so I could get to work.

During this time I dabbled into many jobs. I truly believe that JOB stands for Just Over Broke. It was not until I decided to apply myself and set goals (beyond the payments of bills and child support) that I transitioned into having a career. This point led me into management, training, and public speaking. I have had tremendous opportunities to  council up-and-comers in three countries. 

It is incredibly rewarding to talk with and work with others who need to understand they write their own path. The trend of people entering into the workforce without a degree is becoming more popular as the cost of college is increasing dramatically as the reward for a degree seems to be diminishing. Young graduates are turning to work experience and  tech schools to get a head start on their future. This is where our industry can capitalize on the movement by reaching out and introducing them to our business and growth path. 

Images: Courtesy of Lenny Saucier

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