High school students from the Southfield and surrounding areas are invited to participate in the “Building Your Future: Life After High School Summer Series” program.

High school students from the Southfield and surrounding areas are invited to participate in the “Building Your Future: Life After High School Summer Series” program.

Photo by Jacob Herbert

New program helps teens with life after high school

By: Jacob Herbert | Southfield Sun | Published April 22, 2021


SOUTHFIELD — In March, Southfield Mental Health Associates interns Keyshawn McMiller and Kashmin Dalal created the League of Extraordinary Youth-Esteemed Teens empowerment groups, an eight-week series to teach teens soft skills and provide a supportive and purpose-driven, group-focused space for high schoolers in the Southfield.

As that program draws to a close, the duo will embark on a new program, titled “Building Your Future: Life After High School Summer Series” starting May 1. The group will meet Saturdays May 1-June 5 to discuss hard skills and professional development topics with professionals in various fields. Participants will be able to video chat with and learn from professionals in job sectors such as the medical field, vocational occupations, military careers and entrepreneurial pursuits as a way to expand their thinking when it comes to life after high school.

“We feel that COVID has really knocked a lot of things off course, and one of those things was and is planning for the future,” McMiller said. “With school being online and students being at home, they’re not able to have that same access to college and career counselors. We see a need for fulfilling that, and this was kind of our way to give back to the greater Michigan area.”

On May 1 will be a professional development workshop; on May 8 will be a college panel, where students will talk with University of Michigan admissions and financial aid staff; on May 11 the group will talk with Michigan Works! and Aerotek, a worldwide recruitment and staffing agency; on May 22 students will meet with veteran and military services representatives; May 29 will include a discussion with a medical panel; and June 5 will feature a discussion with an entrepreneurship panel.

Dalal said she and McMiller consulted with participants in order to find topics the teens wanted to discuss.

“We weren’t sure, either, genuinely, what they wanted to learn,” she said. “The first panelist we’re bringing in is a professional development panelist, so we’re going to talk about financial aid, scholarships, loans, how to prepare for a job interview or develop a resume, things that just kind of go missed in high school education but are so pivotal.”

While this new program will help high school students with hard skills in order to succeed after high school, Dalal hopes students walk away with the idea that they have numerous avenues available to them to pursue after high school.

“Life doesn’t have to be in a box. We can step outside of it,” she said. “There’s endless opportunities at our disposal. We want them to understand that and walk into opportunities with confidence and making connections on their own. I always thought I had to find a job, get my career set and that’s it for the rest of my life, but there’s so many opportunities, and you have to be open to them.”

McMiller’s biggest piece of advice to adolescents facing the real world is to be prepared, not surprised.

“I think in this current age we’ve seen kids and teens create things and get into avenues that weren’t previously open to them,” he said. “As the world changes, you need to put yourself out there and research. If you’re interested in something, go for it. Do some research and see what you could make out of it now. Experts are open to talking and giving back.”

To register for this new program, visit eventbrite.com.