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Team 5-0 mentors students at Ellicott's Career Café

Tech. Sgt. Abifarin Scott (left) and Staff Sgt. Francis Goodwin, both from the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, speak to seventh and eighth grade students  about the Global Positioning System and military service during a Career Café event at Ellicott Middle School in Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Scott and Goodwin were able to clear up misperceptions about the military during their presentation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Tech. Sgt. Abifarin Scott (left) and Staff Sgt. Francis Goodwin, both from the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, speak to seventh and eighth grade students about the Global Positioning System and military service during a Career Café event at Ellicott Middle School in Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Scott and Goodwin were able to clear up misperceptions about the military during their presentation. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Thea Wasche, 50th Force Support Squadron deputy commander and Red Cross therapy dog handler, speaks to seventh and eighth grade students curing a Career Café event at Ellicott Middle School in Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Career Café is a new program designed to expose students to potential post-secondary education and career opportunities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

Thea Wasche, 50th Force Support Squadron deputy commander and Red Cross therapy dog handler, speaks to seventh and eighth grade students curing a Career Café event at Ellicott Middle School in Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Career Café is a new program designed to expose students to potential post-secondary education and career opportunities. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Debbie Lockhart)

ELLICOTT, Colo. -- Members of Team 5-0 mentored students from Ellicott Middle School in Ellicott, Colorado, Thursday, Oct. 22 during a new program designed to expose students to potential post-secondary education and career opportunities.

"It's perfect to start in our back yard," said Margaret Bloomer, Ellicott Middle School counselor. "Our kids pass by Schriever all the time and have absolutely no idea what they do, so it's been nice that people who have come in to present have been a good representation of all the pieces and parts of the base."

Tech. Sgt. Abifarin Scott and Staff Sgt. Francis Goodwin, both from the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, attended Career Café to speak to children about the Global Positioning System and military service.

"I loved speaking to the kids," said Goodwin. It is mind-blowing to see what kids know and what they don't know about military service."

Many of the students were under the impression joining the military meant going into combat - something Scott and Goodwin addressed during their presentation.

"I think the biggest thing we did was alleviate fear," said Goodwin. "That is the biggest deterrent for joining the military -- people don't know that there are so many other career fields that aren't geared toward special operations or being a lone ranger."

The interaction between the students and Airmen during Career Café is the only exposure some Ellicott students have had to the military.

"Our kids' eyes have been really opened to [military service]," said Bloomer. "Every time there is a presenter, at least one of the kids leave saying 'I might just do this.' That's really exciting for us."

Although education is important, one of the goals of the program is to show students there is more to being successful in life and a career than grades.

"Our kids need to know it's not just about your grade point average," said Bloomer. "It really is about your integrity and your character. We want them to start thinking about it now."

Thea Wasche, 50th Force Support Squadron deputy commander and Red Cross therapy dog handler, also spoke to students about helping others and introduced her registered therapy dog, Lacey, to students.

"I like that I get to see new things and know I can try new careers instead of having my mind set on one. Now I know I have a bunch of different options," said Alexandra Lawless, Ellicott Middle School student. "I want to be an archeologist, although I might try to do something like this with therapy dogs in my free time. That way it's not just archeology all the time."

Career Café speakers are selected based on student interest. Faculty members take the students' suggestions and find engaging presenters from Schriever Air Force Base and the Colorado Springs community.

"The presenters have been so engaging," said Bloomer. "They've been amazing and are definitely catching our kids' attention."

The presenters insist the opportunity to speak to students has been equally beneficial and the event has garnered them a sense of pride and accomplishment in knowing they've helped students broaden their horizons.

"We've armed them with information--they've heard about our experiences in other countries, we've planted a seed," said Goodwin. "They aren't faced with the choice now, but at least they know they have options."

If you are interested in participating in Career Café as a speaker, contact Heidi Goodbar, Airman and Family Readiness Center community readiness consultant, at 567-3920.
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