Two of Berkeley’s biggest employers opened their doors to employee’s children Thursday to celebrate “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.”
At Alta Bates Medical Center, the events were for girls only; over at the University of California the event was billed as “Take Your Child to Work Day.”
At any rate, a lot of kids substituted a normal school day for a different kind of learning experience, observing Mom and Dad at work.
Alta Bates hosted 40 girls ranging in age from under 10 years old to teen-agers who listened to speakers and toured hospital departments before joining their parents. The emphasis was on maintaining good health and encouraging the youngsters to consider medical careers.
At UC Berkeley the day was unstructured, but it included an ice cream social during the noon hour at Memorial Glade, activities at the Lawrence Hall of Science and tours of the computer labs at University Hall and the campus.
Chancellor Robert M. Berdahl encouraged the event which had been more informal in past years. The day “could nourish our children, their aspirations and dreams as they experience some of what a university has to offer,” he said in a press release.
The daughters day has been a regular event at the hospital for about three years, and it was celebrated informally before that, said Alta Bates spokesperson Carolyn Kemp.
She believes the concept originated with Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine to remind girls that they could aim high on the career ladder, and one of the first steps is observing a parent at work.Kemp noted that when the girls, who were sitting at tables after breakfast in the hospital auditorium, were asked what careers they might pursue, their lofty goals were inspiring.
Some careers mentioned included doctor, lawyer, policewoman, actress, singer, nurse or teacher, and one girl wanted to be a model, cook, artist and fashion designer.
Linde Spuhler, a speech therapist who talked to them about her profession, asked them what they thought it would take to become a speech therapist like herself.
The answers were thoughtful: “well-educated,” “likes to work with people,” “has patience with people.”
Camille Thompson, 15, whose mother works in the hospital’s corporate development department, has her sights set on being a police officer in Oakland.
But in one of the hospital’s operating rooms, where the girls heard two operating room nurses explain the technology in the room and some of the procedures, Camille said she might change her mind.
“It’s definitely an option, being a doctor or nurse or working with babies, because I really like children.”
Robyn Gee, 14, whose father is a physical therapist at the hospital, said she was interested in the emergency room discussion earlier that morning. She said she didn’t mind the prospect of the years of schooling needed.
Two 9-year-old girls, Laura and Madeleine, wanted to be nurses like their mothers. Their secondary career choices were teacher and singer.
The girls were wearing the multi-colored scrubs or operating room shirts the hospital gave them and they learned that it takes a surgical team member five minutes to wash his or her hands.
Julie Patterson, R.N. turned the light on the X-ray of the hip and lower leg of a 65-year-old woman. The picture showed the pin in her hip and another fracture below the knee.
The presentation repelled some of the girls, but it provided a cautionary tale about the value of calcium and Vitamin D.
While the daughters of Alta Bates employees could join their parents if the work setting was not restricted, the sons and daughters of UC Berkeley employees in the University Relations Department had plenty of office space.
Six-and-one-half-year-old Michael Rosjidi, helped his mother Shirley sharpen pencils, and he wrote a brief report about his experiences for his first grade teacher.
The Oakland student wrote that he missed his teacher and several other sentences that he says he likes to write. One important declaration: “I went to Berkeley to do work.”
His mother who works with student work payrolls said her son had visited before, and that his behavior on this official day was “pretty good.”
Cameron Rico, 10, was enjoying spring vacation from the Concord schools and he was helping his Dad, Luis who works with support groups, and he was reading a Harry Potter book.
Later, said Luis, his son would switch places with his 5-year-old sister Kayla, who was working with their mother Linda. The family planned to meet for lunch.
The children would get a free ride into the Campanile and on the agenda was a father-son walk by the baseball diamonds to see the players practice.
“It’s important for them to visualize where we are and what we do,” said the father. “And they get a perspective of what college is like.”