About Take Our Daughters and Sons to WorkDesigned to be more than a career day, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® program goes beyond the average practice of "shadowing" an adult. Exposing girls and boys to what a parent or mentor in their lives does during the work day is important, but showing them the value of their education, helping them discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life, providing them an opportunity to share how they envision the future, and allowing them to begin steps toward their end goals in a hands-on and interactive environment is key to their achieving success.
For 23 years, our development of new, interactive activities and partnerships has helped us in taking girls and boys to the future they dream of.
This year’s theme of “Sparking Aha! Moments” represents the greatness of imagination and new ideas, inspiring youth to tomorrow with excitement and vigor. We can all do this by sharing those moments of discovery that lead us to choose specific careers, motivated us to make positive life changes and moved us to be leaders in our communities. This will encourage our youth to dream big and work hard.
About the Foundation
The Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, which administers the program, is dedicated to developing innovative strategies and research-based activities in informal educational programs that empower girls and boys in all sectors of society so they may reach their full potential and live fulfilling lives. Through its leadership, expertise, and collaborations, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation advocates for changes in social policy and public awareness on behalf of youth.
President, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation
Download image: Carolyn McKecuen
Byline: Carolyn McKecuen is President of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation and an expert in business development and communications.
Broadcast Bio: It's that time of year again – time for businesses and organizations to welcome in a new generation at work with the annual observance of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day®, which falls on the fourth Thursday in April. The purpose of the day is to expose girls and boys to the opportunities they have to choose from when considering their future careers and the family-work balance. You can find plenty of tips, information, and even a helpful Workplace Coordinator's Kit at daughtersandsonstowork.org. With us today is Carolyn McKecuen [say: mcku en], president of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation. Welcome, Carolyn! What's new for this year, and how can parents, teachers, and employers participate in the Day?
Full Bio: Carolyn McKecuen is President of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, which now administers Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day®. She played an integral role as a consultant in the Day's creation and has been involved in its celebration every year since. Carolyn has devoted her life to creating opportunities for others. As a consultant with McKecuen Consulting, Inc., which she founded with her husband, George McKecuen, Carolyn has applied her expertise in business development, communication, and technology to support and expand non-profit organizations and micro-enterprises all over the world. She has been recognized for her contributions as the recipient of numerous awards, including the Presidential Award for Public/Private Support in Microenterprise, on behalf of the Ms. Foundation where she served as a consultant; the MacArthur Foundation Fellows; and the state of North Carolina, among others.
In 2007 Carolyn and George took over management of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day® through the establishment of the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation. In addition to her work for the Foundation, Carolyn continues to consult with businesses and non-profits to devise strategies that make them more effective, more efficient, and help them make a greater impact on the world.
Recognition and Praise for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work
If you would like to reach one of the individuals quoted below, please contact us. Be sure to also view Statements of Support from Congress.
President Barack Obama
In June of 2015, President Obama called the foundation directly to request our help. He asked us to urge our participants to reach out to youth who may not have a parent to take them to work. This past April, The White House hosted 200 youth from underserved communities in the Washington, D.C. area. President Obama made one thing very clear: We must embrace all youth in our efforts to counter the widening knowledge gap between what students are taught in the classroom and what they need to know to be successful in the workplace. In response, the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Foundation has forged a partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. On Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day 2016, 360,000 “Bigs” and “Littles” will go to work together. We hope to lead by example and encourage our corporate partners to follow our path.
Gloria Steinem, Founding President, Ms. Foundation for Women and co-creator of Take Our Daughters to Work Day
"When we initially created Take Our Daughters to Work Day, we knew it was only responding to part of the problem -- exposing girls to opportunities they were previously shut off to. We always envision that the equal or other half of this was ‘Take Our Sons Home Day,’ since they have been equally deprived of exposure to what work the home requires. Now with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, we have envisioned both."
National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
"Parent involvement is a key to a child's educational success. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is an opportunity for parents to share part of their work life with children and to show them that work is an integral part of everyone's life. This special day is also an opportunity for PTAs, schools, and communities to work together to provide a learning experience for our nation's children," said National PTA CEO Warlene Gary. "National PTA acknowledges that there is a new generation at work and encourages parents to use this special day to begin a constructive conversation with children about their careers. Through a program called PTA Goes to Work, National PTA and the U.S. Department of Labor are providing information to parents and students on the fastest growing careers so they can make the best informed decisions on their career paths."
**About National PTA** With nearly 6 million members, National PTA is the largest volunteer parent organization in the United States. Since its founding in 1897, National PTA has prided itself on being a powerful voice for children, a relevant resource for parents, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in National PTA is open to anyone who is concerned with the education, health, and welfare of children and youth. For more information about National PTA, visit www.pta.org.
The National Campaign for Public School Improvement
Kevin Walker, president and national director of Project Appleseed and The National Campaign for Public School Improvement: "There are 50 million public school parents in America. Real education reform in this country cannot take place without an effective and involved parent constituency. When employers encourage parents to become involved with their children during company time, they invest in the corporate bottom line by ensuring that parents can be involved with their children. Parental involvement is the key to school improvement, and school improvement is the key to economic growth and competitiveness. 'Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day' is one way employers can invest in our future work force -- now. This is a win-win day, and I urge America's schools, employers, and parents to take part in this wonderful celebration of parenting and work.
**About Kevin Walker** President & National Director, THE NATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT,www.projectappleseed.org; Named in Top 10 people in American education in the 1990’s in the 10th Anniversary edition of Teacher magazine (published by Education Week), 1999
Named Top Parent Leader in the United States, Parenting Leader Award, Parenting Magazine (published by Time, Inc.), 2000
Project Appleseed is the #1 ranked resource for "parental involvement in public schools" in the Internet's leading search engines Google, Yahoo!, and MSN 2006. Bio located at www.projectappleseed.org/walkervita.html.
“With more and more mothers working outside the home, we are finding that the amount of quality time they have to spend with their children is less and less. ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day’ is a vital initiative because it promotes parent-child bonding on yet another level. By affording our children the opportunity to experience our careers, we are providing them with an immediate educational experience, as well as the possibility of fostering long-term goals and motivation. As an alumnus of the program and as a practicing school psychologist, I believe in the initiative. It was while experiencing my capable, educated mother's struggle as a secretary to gain respect in a male-dominated corporate environment that I realized I wanted to learn about the educational system, as well as the psychology behind the choices men and women make in terms of their courses of study after high school. It was after a ‘Take Your Daughter to Work Day’ that I realized I had to become a school psychologist.”
- Nadine O'Reilly, M.A., Certified school psychologist
Ida Siegal, NBC New York
“When I was fifteen years old, my public Manhattan high school was chosen to participate in a revolutionary program. At the time it was called, ‘Take Our Daughters To Work.’ All the girls from my honors English class got the opportunity to visit the national ABC television network newsroom. Ahead of our visit we were asked to do a project called the News Broadcast of the Future. … We took our finished project to Peter Jennings at ABC News. … Afterwards he turned to me and said, ‘I think you got something.’ Well that was it, I had never considered pursuing journalism until that moment. … I absolutely credit the TODASTW program for changing my life. They ‘planted the seed’ and made it possible for me to blossom. Now I hope to do the same.”
Jamie Mittelman, Citizen AOL
“5th grade, Mrs. Burchfield's history class and we are learning about the Revolutionary War. Mrs. Birchfield stands powerfully in front of the classroom with a commanding presence but yet a warm glow in her eyes. She's detailing what the Patriots wore and what it felt like to charge into battle fully unexposed for something they firmly believed in. I hang on her every word. She isn't just speaking, she's performing. I feel what it's like to be a Patriot, I understand why they're willing to sacrifice their lives and I remember the details of their battles like I've experienced them myself. Mrs. Birchfield taught me the power of performance, but more basically, how to effectively convey information. To put it bluntly, she taught me how to make others listen and care, how to capture the attention and interest of a class of twenty-five eleven year olds and to make a lasting impression. This lesson was what eventually inspired made me become a teacher and to later move into marketing.”
Allison Kaatz, San Diego Zoo Safari Park
“There’s just no way to downplay it, so I’m gonna say it. … My workplace, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park is the COOLEST. When national ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day’ arrives, my son and I both look forward to spending the day together. The event’s popularity is growing every year with 62 kids registered this year. I am proud to say that my employer San Diego Zoo Global embraces its opportunity to be a role model and world leader in conservation, a place that daughters and sons can be proud to say their parents work, and where they can be inspired to work someday too. This year has been the best yet.”
Dave, Homeland Security Investigations
“My name is Dave; I am a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, in San Diego, California. I have been the coordinator for our [take our daughters & sons to work day] for  years. … We have had wonderful feedback from the kids and parents. The kids have a better understanding of their parents’ jobs and they have fun with all of the ‘gadgets’ of our law enforcement job. They acknowledge they have to behave in school and study hard, that nothing is outside their grasp if they strive to be the best they can be and have fun doing it. I have a deep feeling of accomplishment when I overhear the kids talking amongst themselves during lunch that they want to be doctors, teachers and pilots. They chat about going to college, getting jobs and having families. But most of all when I hear how they are going to work hard in school to make their parents proud…well that pulls at the heart strings. I am proud to be a part of your program and look forward to continuing our journey and being a positive model for our future generations.”
Damarys Geronim, Consumer Testing Services
“The website has been extremely useful for my current and past company. Every time I plan my event, I utilize the website and information in it to help me plan agenda, activities, and theme ideas for the day. The icebreaker was one activity that worked excellent this past year, so glad I found it on your website! I’ve been celebrating this day at my former company and current company for over 13 years now. … Our events have gone extremely well and the parents and managers were satisfied; we received such positive feedback from them and the children. The participants enjoyed the connection of learning more about their parent’s jobs.”
Lilly Maisel, Goldman Sachs
“Goldman, Sachs & Co. is proud to be an annual Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day sponsor. The commitment to expanding opportunities for our young people to learn about the workplace of their future is important to our organization. The program helps to set the stage for companies across the U.S. to participate in this event by creating user-friendly programming and training materials and resources. By developing and distributing comprehensive training and participant materials and activities, we are able to help our smaller regional offices organize a successful event around the country without relying on extensive resources to pull off a great event. In addition to the developing curriculum, our organization can leverage to maximize the day’s experience for our children, the organization supports our efforts year round and helps me keep in connection with other participating organizations around the country through forums and best practices sharing sessions.”
Dale Agar, Prudent Publishing Company
“Our company has participated for at least ten years in this great day. We feel that we have given some insight into the workplace to many children of our employees. The side benefit of this is that it actually energizes the people who work here. Even those who do not have children to bring look forward to seeing the children come. We have extended this to nieces, nephews, grandchildren, etc., since this allows people who have do not have children to also participate. … Having worked on this program for the last four years, I find it very rewarding to see when something we do sparks an interest in a child. This year’s theme Plant a Seed, Grow a Future says it all. Hopefully we have planted some seeds along the way.”
Belinda J. Braley, GreenPages
"This was my first experience organizing and hosting this event, and I was overwhelmed at the thought of pulling this all together. I bookmarked the Web site and referred to it daily during planning. It was great to have a comprehensive, well-organized resource at my disposal. I started with the Workplace Coordinator section and utilized the materials, particularly the Activity Guide. We did the "Up/Down" icebreaker. The "What do you Think" activity was amazing in terms of the responses the kids gave. Our event was a huge success, and I know this is due in large part to the Web site materials."
Lee Kravitz, Parade Magazine
“It was an article in PARADE that helped Take Our Daughters to Work Day grow from a local event into a national movement. Fifteen years later, Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and its mission are even more relevant -- and crucial. America competes in a global economy that increasingly recognizes and prizes the vital role that women (as well as men) play in economic growth and progress. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day gives young people and particularly girls a taste of the workplace. But it also reminds all Americans (parents and policymakers, voters and corporate leaders) that our success as a nation depends on our ability to nurture and help fulfill the dreams and potential of all of our young people."
Joe Kelly, Dads and Daughters
"Work-family balance is a central issue for every family member in our society now and for the foreseeable future. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day helps stimulate a national conversation about this crucial issue. I became part of the Take Our Daughters to Work Advisory Board because of my lifelong commitment to gender equity. I remained an advisor to the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work initiative for the same reason and because I think men (in particular) need to spend more time thinking and discussing work-family balance."
Kaman Aerospace Corporation, N. Bielot, S. Tadesse, and D. Oliveria
"This is the third year that we participated in the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day program, and every year sees more children and employee involvement! We highlight one of our products and walk the children through the business process, from Business Development to manufacturing to shipping and invoicing. Several employees are involved (parents wherever possible), explaining what they do for the product and what skills/education are required. The children have a great time seeing their parents/grandparents at work, learning about more than 15 professions, and seeing how everyone works together to make a product for the customer."
If you are a Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work alumni and would like to share your story, please contact us:
Michelle Tennant at 828-749-3200 or Michelle@WasabiPublicity.com
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® program?
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® encourages girls and boys across the country to feel empowered to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work, and community lives. This national, public education program connects what children learn at school with the actual working world. Children learn that a family-friendly work environment is an employer and family issue, not just a women's issue. Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work helps girls and boys across the nation discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life.
How does a company plan the Day?
There are various ways to plan your Day. The Coordinator’s Toolkit contains suggestions that will help you in your planning process.
What is the Ms. Foundation’s connection to Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work®?
The Ms. Foundation originally launched Take Our Daughters to Work Day. The Take Our Daughters And Sons to Work Foundation now administers the Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® program. In July 2007, with the overwhelming success of Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day, the Ms. Foundation decided to transition the program to the newly created Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation so that Ms. Foundation could turn its attention to other platforms to nurture girls’ voices and leadership.
Why is the program called "OUR" Daughters and Sons?
When we say “Our Daughters And Sons” we mean more than our own children. Workplaces and individuals are encouraged to ensure all our nation’s daughters and sons participate in the program by inviting children from housing authorities and shelters, nieces and nephews, neighbors and friends, granddaughters and grandsons, and more, to join them for Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day. Through this program, adults can show girls and boys opportunities they would have otherwise never known existed. The recommended range for eligible school participants is between the ages of 8 and 18.
Ensuring girls and boys of all races, ethnicities, and economic circumstances participate in Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® Day has always been a major component of the program and is something we are committed to continuing.
How is this program different from "Take Our Children to Work"?
Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® is a program with new goals, and new activities. It is designed for both girls and boys between the ages of 8 -18, and focuses on expanding future opportunities for all our children, in both their work and family lives.
This is the first time that most girls and boys will be asked to talk about how they envision their future home and work lives. For some participants it will be easier to start these conversations in a group comprised of their own gender. For this reason, we recommend separating the girls and boys for the first few activities. After girls and boys have a chance to articulate their ideas, it will be easier to come together and share them.
Why a school day?
Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day is organized during the school year so girls and boys can take what they learn in workplaces on Thursday and apply it to the classroom on Friday. By involving whole communities—schools, girls and boys, parents, workplaces, and mentors—the program helps young people make connections between what they learn in school and their future goals.
In fact, many girls participated in the original Take Our Daughters to Work® Day through their schools, especially in low-income communities. Teachers helped workplaces "adopt" whole classrooms for the Day, allowing children to walk through doors they otherwise would not have had the chance to enter.
By sticking to a national date—the fourth Thursday in April—communities and schools plan ahead and form partnerships to create a dynamic interaction between the workplace and the classroom. And by participating on the official date of the program, a young person recognizes that s/he is one of millions helping to shape the future.
We conducted a poll with RoperASW for the 10th Anniversary of Take Our Daughters to Work® Day. Our findings revealed that the program increased girls' interest in education, influenced their decision to go to college or professional school, and broadened girls' thinking about their goals and aspirations with reference to work opportunities. The new program is an educational experience for all of our nation's daughters and sons.
What is the theme for 2016?
“Sparking Aha! Moments”
What is the national date of the program?
The national date for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® is always the fourth Thursday in April.
Who sponsors Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day?
Our sponsors are companies and organizations that recognize the potential in young girls and boys and are committed to helping them access and realize opportunities. For a list of companies and workplaces that sponsor the Day, visit the Sponsor page at DaughtersAndSonsToWork.org.
What is the recommended age and why?
The program is recommended for girls and boys ages 8 to 18. While children who are older than 18 may benefit from the program, it has been our experience that children under eight tend to be facing different issues and simply do not benefit from the program in the same way. We find that due to issues like attention span, reading comprehension, etc. the day doesn’t speak to their experience. However, there are many ways to incorporate these discussions into the lives of girls and boys 7 and under – it just requires a little creativity and planning!
However, while we provide a national, suggested age range for participants it is ultimately at the discretion of an individual workplace to decide on appropriate age range for their program, especially when safety is an issue. To assist and support workplaces that include youth who are in their late teens, we have established content and materials that speak to the various age levels such as older teenagers.
Why is Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® Day scheduled the same day as city, state or regional testing in my area?
For over 21 years, the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work® event has been scheduled for the fourth Thursday in April, during which last year 39 million people participated in the U.S. alone. As this is an international event, it cannot be rescheduled around school testing days. We regret that some states and schools have chosen not to take our event into account when scheduling their testing days. Unfortunately we cannot control their calendars.