Read What Color Is Your Parachute? Online

Authors: Carol Christen,Jean M. Blomquist,Richard N. Bolles

Tags: #Juvenile Nonfiction, #Business & Economics, #Careers, #School & Education, #Non-Fiction

What Color Is Your Parachute? (5 page)

BOOK: What Color Is Your Parachute?
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Every job has certain core activities or tasks that you do over and over. To do these activities or tasks, you need to have certain skills. If you know what skills you most enjoy using, you’ll be able to compare the skills needed in a job to your own best skills. If a job doesn’t use three-quarters of your best skills, you won’t be happy with it.

My dad was a school superintendent for a school district near the mountains. One of his schools offered alpine and cross-country skiing to fourth to eighth graders for P.E. credit. The school had a class for Down syndrome kids. I asked if the kids from this class got to go skiing. When my dad said no, I instantly knew what my community service project would be. Most kids who have this syndrome have enough motor coordination to participate in activities like skiing. I wanted to give these kids a chance to have fun in the snow and maybe even ski.

After overcoming his initial resistance, my dad put me in contact with the woman who taught the class for students with Down syndrome and with a family that might be willing to let me work with their kids. I created an outline of what we would do and how I would teach them. I met with the teacher and the family. I convinced the local ski resort to donate ski rentals and access to the rope tow and beginner’s area. It turned out that the kids didn’t remember much from one lesson to another. But they did experience something new and had fun.

My high school was one of a group of schools around the world that emphasize community service. The head of my school submitted my project in a competition. I was amazed when I was chosen to receive an international community service award for my project.

Goal or Problem:
Designing a community service project to meet graduation requirements.
Convincing people that students with Down syndrome could learn to ski and enjoy the snow just like other elementary students; obtaining free ski rentals and ski passes.
Time Frame:
Three months (January–March).
Five Down syndrome students were able to experience skiing; community service award received.

Are you ready for a little detective work? Good! Let’s turn to your life now and begin to identify your skills and, in particular, your best skills.

Discover Your Skills

Now that you’ve read My Community Service Project, reread your own story. Using the list of
Skill TIPs
, identify the skills you use in your story. All of the skills in this list are transferable skills—skills that you can use in many different settings or jobs. You may want to photocopy the Skill TIPs list before you begin so you’ll have a fresh copy to use if you want to do this exercise in the future or if you want to share it with a friend.

As you go through the Skill TIPs list, put a check mark in box #1 under each skill that you used in the story you just wrote. For example, if you used the skill “making” in your story (say, you made a dress or a sculpture), put a check mark in box #1 underneath “using my hands” on the
Skills with Things

Here are a few of the skills that Serena, who wrote about her community service project, might have selected:

• Skills with Things (physical): motor/physical coordination with my whole body (skiing)
• Skills with Information (mental): imagining, inventing, creating, or designing new ideas (designing a skiing program for students with Down syndrome)
• Skills with People (interpersonal): teaching, training, or designing educational events (teaching skiing to students with Down syndrome and designing the program to teach them to ski)
  1. Review your story.
  2. Identify the skills you used.
  3. Check your skills off on the
Skill TIPs list

Now that you’ve gone through the process and understand how it works, write four more stories so you have a total of five. If you wrote about a project the first time, try writing about something else: teaching your little sister how to ride a bike, learning to ice-skate, dealing with a friend who gossiped about you behind your back. Having five stories will help you find the different kinds of skills you use in different situations. You’ve already written story #1. Next, for story #2, place check marks in box #2 for each skill you used. Do this for each of the remaining stories, #3, #4, and #5. (If you want, brighten up the list by using colored pens or pencils.) You may find that in each story, you used many different skills—some in the “things” category, others in the “information” category, and still others in the “people” category. If you write one story a day and fill in your skills, then in five days you can know what your best transferable skills are—and you’ll have two sections of your parachute done!

Identify Your Best Transferable Skills

Now we’re ready to find which skills are your “best” ones—the ones you most enjoy using. Every job will include some tasks or need a few skills you don’t much care for. But to find a job you’ll enjoy, you want to know which skills you really like to use and which ones you do well. Think about big chunks of time. What skills do you like enough to use over and over all day long?

You have both “can-do” and “want-to” skills. Can-do skills are ones you don’t want to use very often. For example, you probably have the skills to wash all the dishes from Thanksgiving dinner for thirty people. But how often would you want to use those skills—all day, every day, once a year, never?

Want-to skills are ones you enjoy using and could do over and over again, several times a day, and not go crazy. It’s important to remember that each of us has different can-do and want-to skills. The world needs people with different skills.



BOOK: What Color Is Your Parachute?
3.54Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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