Challenge – Explain to a 5th Grader What You Do
by Sabrina L. Thomas
Some of you may remember the television show “Kids Say the Darndest Things” based on a feature in Art Linkletter’s television show, Art Linkletter’s House Party. During the show, Linkletter interviewed children about a variety of subjects and elicited their opinions about religion, government, families, and other assorted topics. The questions often evoked some of the zaniest and funniest comments. This is exactly how I feel whenever I speak to children at local elementary schools about the work I do. Invariably, the most popular questions are:
1. Do you appear on television?
2. How much money do you make?
3. Do you put the bad guys in jail?
In the last issue of Sacramento Lawyer magazine, I highlighted the many benefits of volunteerism and introduced our newest program, the SCBA Kids Law Day program. The SCBA Kids Law Day is a program designed to introduce elementary school children to the legal profession by having an attorney and paralegal or legal secretary talk to children about pursuing a legal career. The team members will talk about their respective professions and answer questions from the children. The program is targeted for elementary school children in grades 4 through 6. This is when kids start to formulate ideas about what they want to be when they “grow up.” According to research, children as young as 12 have a strong sense of their personal futures and can reflect thoughtfully on what life might hold for them. I vividly remember deciding to become a lawyer around the age of 10 after reading a book called the Super Lawyer. I was intrigued by the enormous impact one profession could have on the life and liberties of citizens.
I envision the SCBA Kids Law Day program as the starting point for introducing young learners to our profession. The program is also important for helping students develop California English language arts standard readiness for college, careers, and civic life. The SCBA Kids Law Day program will focus primarily on civic life to help students find their voice, develop a passion for social justice, and become responsible citizens of a democratic society.
We have reached out to several school principals who are ecstatic about SCBA’s decision to develop a law program that focuses on younger children. We share their enthusiasm. We hope these students will be inspired by the program and eventually enroll in a law academy program at C.K. McClatchy High School or Florin High School, both are SCBA supported organizations. These law academies provide students with opportunities to explore the broad range of careers within the field of law. As our young learners grow, we hope that they will be inspired to seek a legal career.
In closing, I’ve included a few thank you notes I received last year from some children at Father Keith B. Kenny K-8 School in Oak Park. I hope that these cards will inspire you to volunteer your time at one of the local elementary schools and encourage you to share with our most valuable asset and future leaders, “why you pursued a career in the legal profession.”
Please contact the SCBA office for more information on how you can inspire a young learner.