Richmond, Va –
More than 200 children visited Defense Supply Center Richmond, Virginia with their parents or grandparents April 27 as part of the 2017 Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.
DLA Aviation Acquisition Executive Cathy Contreras kicked off the opening ceremony in the Lotts Conference Center by thanking the students, children of DLA employees, who participated in the opening ceremony, Pierre Fields, led the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and Gennese Springs and Alexis Patterson, performed musical selections.
“It takes bravery to come up on stage in front of an audience,” she said.
Contreras, who has a 14-year-old son herself, said she realizes it is sometimes hard for parents to balance work and home life.
“I want you to know that what your parents do is critically important to our warfighters and national security,” she said and added that the event’s theme reflects the fact that our warfighters count on us every day.
She then compared the theme to participating on a sports team or caring for a pet, telling children in the audience that their parents work on a big “sports team” called DLA Aviation and it has over 3,500 people across 18 locations in the United States helping to maintain America’s military readiness.
“The dependability your parents demonstrate helps to create a dependable DLA,” she said.
After seeing a video highlighting DSCR’s history, participants broke into separate groups to start the day’s activities.
The event featured activities for every age group between 8 and 18 years of age. Activities included a military weapons systems tour, a nature walk to feed the Bellwood Elk, an interactive fulfilment order cradle-to-grave process, a military fitness test, and more.
Lesa Arcangel, event co-organizer and an office management assistant, Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate, said that when the activity has these types of events she feels it is important to add value to the kids’ visit.
“It is important that they not only know what their parents tell them that they do, but they are able to have a hands-on approach and actually be a part of hearing and seeing it firsthand,” she said. “Each year it's been my vision to have the kids be excited for what's to come the next year."
Eight-year-old Gavyn Dortch attended the event to get the day off school and because, his dad, Randy Dortch, asked him to participate. Randy Dortch works as a strategic sourcing specialist in DLA Aviation’s Strategic Acquisition Programs Directorate.
“I saw the airplane displays and learned that Dad buys the parts for them,” said Gavyn Dortch, who attends Winterpock Elementary School in Chesterfield, Virginia. “I really like the candy game table and I want to see the elk.”
Michael Malone, an 8-year-old student from George Washington Carver Elementary School in Richmond was excited to see the firefighters. His mom, Mariah Branch-White, a supply planner in the Planning Process Directorate,said Michael wants to be a firefighter.
Herman Wilson, a customer account specialist in the Customer Operations Directorate, helped coordinate activities for students 13 - 18 years old. They were able to participate in a mock job interview, a resume writing workshop, a USAJobs simulation and learned about government career opportunities.
Teara Gross was attending the event for the second year. Gross is the daughter of Conchita Sellers, a management and program analyst in DLA Aviation’s Command Support Directorate.
“I enjoyed the mock interviews last year, so I came back again this year,” said Gross.
Demetrius McCray, a 16 year old at Manchester High School in Chesterfield, also came to participate in the mock interviews. Demetrius McCray is the son of Marine Corps Master Sgt. Olga McCray, who works in the Marine Corps Facing Division of Customer Operations.
“You learn a lot in the mock interviews,” said Demetrius McCray. “More than just giving simple answers. You learn to project confidence in your responds.”
Navy, Air Force and Army recruiters also staffed tables in the conference center. Brady Ohman, a 20 year old from Glen Allen, Virginia helped man the Richmond Navy Recruiting table and talked with high school students. Ohman graduated in 2015 and enlisted as a seaman in the Navy March of this year.
After exploring all the activities and learning more about the work done by their parents and grandparents, students returned to the Lotts Center where the watched an Air Force video and listened Patterson perform another musical selection.
Army Maj. Clarence Montague, DLA Aviation’s director of Strategic Acquisition Programs, offered a few closing remarks.
Montague thanked the students for giving up a day of school, their parents for bringing them and the organizers for a great event.
In closing he urged students, as responsible people, to set goals, make plans and take action.