At some point in all our lives, we’ve been faced with the daunting question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” As children, these answers can be as expansive as our imaginations (ballerinas, astronauts, the president, etc.), and as we grow and begin to prepare for the workforce, our evolving passions and interests are reflective of our life experiences. We tend to look to those jobs with which we are familiar – whether through our families and friends, teachers, or neighborhoods and communities. However, the career opportunities available to us reach far beyond these boundaries, and we are better equipped to pursue a fulfilling career when we begin to explore the vast array of options that are possible.
For Blondin St. Jusme, her earliest professional dream was to become a pediatrician, or at the very least a job that was incumbent on helping others. Her academic path steered her to a degree in sociology and a minor in public policy from UMass Boston, and she is ready to explore a range of career avenues that emphasize her driving passion of helping others, especially children and young adults.
“A [career] assessment helped me discover I was passionate about working with kids. Now, I’m realizing how many different jobs allow me to do so while having a significant impact,” said Blondin, of career tools and guidance that have helped inform her career choices.
Blondin is a former Red Sox Scholar with The Red Sox Foundation, with whom American Student Assistance is a proud partner. This award-winning scholarship and enrichment program selects middle school students who have demonstrated perseverance and initiative to succeed, providing them with financial scholarships and mentoring throughout their education journey. Scholars receive support with community service activities, developing strong academic habits, and navigating the high school application process, then later the higher education selection process (including two- and four-year degrees and vocational schools). They also receive assistance applying for financial aid and exploring job opportunities, including preparing resumes and interview skills.
Blondin now works for the Red Sox Foundation as a Fellow, helping to oversee programs and activities for the current cohort of Red Sox Scholars. Blondin is among other Scholars – such as Lidia Zayas – who found an opportunity to pursue their passion and give back through the Foundation. After graduating from Suffolk University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, Lidia joined the staff of the Red Sox Foundation first as a Fellow, then worked her way up to Coordinator and now Program Specialist. She worked on an initiative to help determine the long-term operational needs for running a successful college scholarship program, combining her strong passion for baseball and helping those in need in the community.
As the first member of her family to attend college, Lidia said her Red Sox Scholars experience was “a breath of fresh air,” serving as a continuous source of inspiration and affirmation of what was possible. “I recognized I had a natural talent for arguing and helping others, so I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. Later I decided that I wanted to eventually own the Red Sox, so I got a business degree,” she said.
“There are many career paths possible and opportunities for exploration if you know where to look and what is needed to achieve your goals,” said Blondin, who credits hard work and her parents’ support and encouragement for her success thus far.
When asked what advice she had for students, Blondin said, “Be open-minded and curious to explore the many career paths. When we’re young, we only hear about a few options and tend to hold on to those. But when you’re exposed to other areas, you can dabble in new topics and activities. So, go out of your comfort zone by trying new extra-curricular activities, be inquisitive about the jobs you interact with and open to learning more about the ones you’re not familiar with. These are all great ways to ensure you’re exposed to more career possibilities.”
For Blondin and Lidia, the Red Sox Scholars program not only opened their eyes to different career paths, the Foundation has given them the opportunity to put their education and skills to use helping other students discover and pursue their passions. And being affiliated with a world-championship team has its benefits. They have extremely fond memories of their years in the program, the highlight for both being meeting their baseball idols David Ortiz and Pedro Martinez!
Learn more about Red Sox Scholars Program: https://www.redsoxfoundation.org/redsoxscholars/
Connect with ASA about this and other partnership programs: firstname.lastname@example.org