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A lesson in pivoting for children and parents

The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation has developed virtual options this year.

Graduate student Stephanie Zaleski guides Conlin Audenerd, 8, of Evanston, and Jason Yuan, 10, of Buffalo Grove, as they make “Edible Slime” during one of the workshops that were part of “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day,” at Northwestern University. April 2012
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day will have virtual options in addition to in-person events April 22.
Sun-Times file

Like so many jobs, the annual Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is happening remotely this year.

The foundation behind the job shadowing day is offering a hybrid format this year with virtual options for kids to experience the event safely from their homes. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is Thursday, April 22.

Christine Bensedira, director of the VBA Finance Center at Hines VA Hospital, expects between 50 and 75 families to take part this year, adding the virtual gatherings make it accessible to more people.

“I think it’s a brand new perspective for the children,” Bensedira said. “They get to actually see how their parents are making that change and operating and being successful.”

The VBA Finance Center, which manages veterans’ financial benefits for the Department of Veterans Affairs, had participated yearly since 2013. Last year, it canceled the event.

Typically, the day is celebrated in over 187 countries and involves more than 44.5 million participants.

There will still be an option for businesses that can accommodate in-person gatherings, but the virtual option will be provided “to benefit everyone and meet everybody’s needs,” said Carolyn McKecuen, CEO and executive director of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day Foundation.

Keynote speakers for the foundation’s online event will be Gloria Steinem, who created the program in 1992, and Gitanjali Rao, Time Magazine’s first kid of the year.

The foundation will host two, 2 1/2-hour virtual career adventures at 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. created by VirtualJobShadow.com. Each session will include a keynote speaker and job shadowing videos in STEM, arts and communications, business, marketing and health science.

Many Chicago-area businesses have opted to sit out again this year, cutting the list of registered companies to a third of what it was in 2020.

Heritage-Crystal Clean, an Elgin environmental services company, canceled its plans for a second year.

“I really don’t see how a virtual event like that could be pulled off,” spokesperson Vida Luzadder said. “We actually wanted the kids here in the place. When I was a kid, I wanted to see where my parents worked.”