Last Saturday, the African American Firefighters League (AAFL), in conjunction with the Chicago Fire Department, hosted a “Firefighter for a Day” event to give children the opportunity to learn about the career field from a firefighter’s point of view. The event familiarized young potential firefighters with some of the history, practices and procedures of firefighters within the context of local fire departments.
It is much less common to hear children say they “want to be Fire-fighters when they grow up” than it was in days past. The AAFL feels that this is due in part to the fact that children nowadays know very little about firefighting and may not be prepared if and when the opportunity arises to pursue this career path. The AAFL’s goal is to give children an understanding of what is required—education, commitment and pride—to be a Chicago firefighter. As one AAFL member put it, “We realize that we can be very influential in a child’s life not only by what we say, but what we do. As a public relations event, we can maximize this opportunity to instill hope in these children that they, too, could be fire-fighters if they put forth the effort to do so.”
The Firefighter for a Day event enabled the children to really get an understanding of what it is like to be a firefighter. It included several activities geared toward familiarizing the youth with firefighter culture.
Attendees at the event included at-risk and under-privileged children ages 10-15 years old. Their hosts for the day were members of the AAFL, the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters, and the Chicago Fire Department.
In addition to this one time event, the AAFL is conducting a mentoring program at True Light Baptist Church, located on Chicago’s south side. For more information about the AAFL, you can contact them at 773-420-8887 or visit their website at http://www.aafl-chicago.org.
At BBF, we are always eager to highlight other organizations that are also working hard to make a difference in the lives of inner-city youth. Spotlighted in today’s BBFs blog post is one such organization. As unemployment is one of the most pressing issues facing urban youth, it is great to see an organization that exposes young people to viable career opportunities with good salaries. Let us know what you think about this article or this subject.
Thanks to Pat McGhee for this post.