SC high schoolers walk to fund, expand career program - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SC high schoolers walk to fund, expand career program

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One of the big reasons they're walking: to raise money to bring back the middle school version of iJAG, which lost its funding last year. One of the big reasons they're walking: to raise money to bring back the middle school version of iJAG, which lost its funding last year.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

Figuring out a career path may be the last thing on your mind while you're still in high school, but one program is helping students start focusing on job skills earlier.

Mayehi Leon has been in North High School's i-JAG program for three years. It stands for Iowa's Jobs for America's Graduates.  She says without it, her future would be cloudy.

"I'm keeping up with school, not only academically, but socially. I have improved a lot lately, and I don't think that I would be at the high standard right now," said Leon.

Leon is among a group of student leaders sharing her success story with her peers. These students are taking the morning off from classes for a walk from Tyson Events Center through the downtown area to raise money for their program, and raise awareness for iJAG.

"It's also for them to learn and have experience for scholarships, and it's good for the resume," said Eraldo Calderon, a sophomore.

This program currently has 45 freshman and sophomore Sioux City students enrolled in the class, with another dozen receiving follow-up visits from teachers. The class identifies potential careers and takes students on field trips to see how different businesses work. Because of the program, many kids are becoming higher achievers.

"I will eventually be the first in my family to graduate high school," said Leon, a sophomore at North High.

One of the big reasons they're walking: to raise money to bring back the middle school version of iJAG, which lost its funding last year.

Dane Doty has been a volunteer for the program for three years. Most days, he's helping them with mock interviews, but this time around, he's walking with them to show his support.

"You really have an influence on where they can grow, if you want them to grow in a certain place, then help them and get involved," said Doty.

"It's really taken off the fear of being in front of people," said Calderon.

Businesses can purchase coffee beans from the students to help with the fundraising. Or they can volunteer or partner with them. Several local companies including Opportunities Unlimited and Aventure have all donated in the past.

"When they get that support and they know that people really care and believe in them, a lot of neat things come out of it," said Doty.

Six of these student leaders also went to Des Moines to meet with Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. There, they learned about leadership in government.

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