More than 300 Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) participants visited the Kansas Statehouse as part of the JAG-K Day at the Capitol celebration on Feb. 10.
Students from JAG-K programs across the state met with their local legislators and invited them to visit their schools. Meeting with legislators helps JAG-K students understand how government works and connects the lawmakers to the program at the local level. They toured the Capitol building and observed both legislative bodies in session.
“I believe it’s very important that students get to experience the capitol, because they get to witness how the system works and how they benefit from it,” Independence High School Career Specialist Moises Rivera said. “They can ask people questions and understand that (elected officials) are people just like us.”
Statewide-elected student leaders of JAG-K were recognized on the floor of the House and Senate. State Career Association officers also met with Gov. Laura Kelly. Kelly signed a proclamation designating Feb. 10 as “JAG-K Day at the Capitol.”
“Civic awareness and leadership development are two important aspects of the JAG model, and JAG-K Day at the Capitol is the perfect teaching event for those two competencies,” JAG-K President/CEO Chuck Knapp said. “The Kansas Legislature and Governor Kelly have been strong supporters of JAG-K, and this is an excellent opportunity for our students to thank them, encourage their continued involvement, and to learn about Kansas government at the same time.”
Melannie Delgado Sanchez, a junior from Wyandotte High School, made her first visit to the Kansas Statehouse. She said JAG-K students learn a lot from the experience.
“It’s been really fun,” Sanchez said. “I am very glad that we are able to come here today, because I know that a lot of students don’t get this opportunity. As students, we have to learn how the government works so that we can make it better. We are the future.”
JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 7-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.
The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 40 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, Goldstein Charitable Trust, John Deere, the Kansas Health Foundation, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Stormont Vail Health, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation and Walmart.