Hospital Partners with Community to Educate Children on How They Can Put their Skills and Interests to Work

Monday, August 4, 2014

(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) – What is a flight simulator and who builds them? How do you become a park ranger? What do dietitians do? Why are bugs important to our environment? How do engineers impact our lives? Where can musicians find work? These are among the many questions that will be answered during a special summer program at the Shriners Hospitals School.

Beginning Monday, August 4, the Shriners Hospital in Northern California will roll out Focus on Careers, a two-week long program developed in partnership with the community to explore different career opportunities and educate patients on how they can put their skills and interests to work. Aerojet Rocketdyne (GenCorp Foundation), Aerospace Museum of California, California State Parks, Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis, the Sacramento Philharmonic and Intel Corporation are among those participating in the innovative and informative program.

The Focus on Careers program is the brainchild of Margaret Kugler, Coordinator of Educational and Vocational Services for the Northern California Shriners Hospital. As a vocational rehabilitation counselor, Kugler works directly with children attending the Shriners Hospitals School to help them identify potential careers based on interests, skills and physical demands of the work. 

“Most kids choose a career path from what they already know, and children that have medical conditions or have been hospitalized for long periods often want to be a doctor, nurse or therapist,” says Kugler. “Ideally, careers should be chosen based on an individual’s interest. Studies show that doing what you have a passion for leads to greater success and happiness,” she adds.

Kugler uses interest inventories to evaluate an individual’s likes and dislikes and reviews education and training needed for different careers with students. “These traditional evaluation tools are effective, but there is nothing more effective than giving a child the opportunity to learn from a seasoned professional.

“By sharing their career paths, professionals often open students’ eyes to new opportunities,” says Kugler. “By explaining what interested them in their field, required education and training and their personal work history, professional presenters drive home the point that career paths are a personal choice.”

In the days ahead, children at Shriners Hospitals for Children will go to school on career opportunities available to them. “Our hope is that this program will bring children one step closer to answering the age-old question, ‘What do I want to be when I grow up,’" says Kugler.

Community members will give Focus on Careers presentations on the following dates. All presentations are scheduled the first two weeks of August from 1 – 2 p.m. in the Shriners Hospital School, 2425 Stockton Boulevard, Sacramento.


August 4 - Aerojet Rocketdyne
Dan Kobiolka, a system safety and reliability Engineer, will discuss missile defense programs.

August 5 - Aerospace Museum of California
Presenters will bring flight simulators and discuss careers in aviation, ranging from ground maintenance to air traffic control, to pilots.

August 6 - Interest Inventories and Career Exploration
Margaret Kugler, Educational and Vocational Services Coordinator at Shriners, will lead students in exercises to help them identify career options.

August 7 - California State Parks
Park personnel will discuss various career opportunities within the State Parks system, from Park Ranger, to tour guide, to security officer.

August 8 - Interest Inventories and Career Exploration (continued)
Margaret Kugler, Educational and Vocational Services Coordinator at Shriners, will lead students in exercises to help them identify career options.


August 11 - Job Seeking Skills
Margaret Kugler and the Shriners Hospital School staff teach students job-seeking skills.

August 12 - Shriners Hospital Registered Dietitian
Samantha Dolan, Hospital Dietitian, discusses the importance of good nutrition and the various places where dietitians work.

August 13 - Bohart Museum of Entomology at UC Davis
Presenters will discuss how important bugs are to our environment and why it is important to protect and catalog them. They will bring samples of bugs from around the world for students to view and touch.

August 14 - Sacramento Philharmonic
Julian Dixon will bring instruments, play and discuss the many career options available to musicians.

August 15 - Intel Corporation
From bridges to computer chips to Ferris Wheels, presenters will discuss the many places engineering plays a role in our lives.

Shriners Hospitals for Children is devoted to transforming the lives of children through excellence in treatment, teaching and research. Located at 2425 Stockton Boulevard in Sacramento, Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California provides care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns, cleft lip and scars from any cause. There are no barriers to care as admission is based on age and diagnosis. For further information call 916-453-2000 or go online to www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.