WAXAHACHIE — In a first-time partnership with the Bridges Training Foundation, State Farm of Red Oak recently hosted its fifth “Bring Your Daughter to Work Day."

“I’ve always sat my kids down and taught them about having life skills and career options,” explained Andrea Walton, a State Farm Insurance agent. “So I was fortunate enough to connect with Bridges Training Foundation and we planned this out. What we deal with here are contracts, business skills, and relationships with our customers. So we’re happy to help them enhance their life skills to figure out what career options they want."

After connecting with the foundation, Walton hosted the group of girls for the whole day and allowed them to explore different employment possibilities on April 27.

“Earlier, there was a customer here, and I said to one of our girls, ‘Any little kid that comes in here, you have to make sure they get a balloon.’ And when two little kids came in, she was right on it. She knew what her role was and she was greeting them and talking with them,” Walton recalled with a grin. “This is normal for us, whether it’s a student working here for one day, spring break, or a week, everyone can do something. We have a bear costume that someone can dance in, and that ‘s marketing. We’ve had many kids work here because it opens doors and their minds to possibilities.”

With a mindset to influence the future workforce, Walton notes the important role businesses play in the community.

“I love the way businesses can reach into communities. It’s not only recruiting for your business because we learn how to see that talent and recruit, but the benefit is that the doors open for a kid, teaching them life skills and giving opportunities to what they didn’t know was possible,” Walton articulated.

“We had past students managing employees and finances, and of course, I’d double check it, but these are things some of our kids can do. They’re doing all of it and doing it well – that’s the key. We teach them to be deliberate and purposeful about work,” she encouraged.

And, with every local business, comes the responsibility to the community, giving back in ways that impact and influence the future of Ellis County.

“It’s important to give back to your community, and I teach my own children that you have a responsibility to give back. We’re not only teaching life skills, but we’re also opening their horizons to the different types of jobs that are out there,” Walton expressed. “I had a young lady who worked with us then went off to college in Kansas and got a job at a State Farm there. So she was able to train here, get skills, get licensed, go to Kansas and get a license there. Now she’s working to become a State Farm agent."

Throughout the day, the group of girls rotated office positions, learning everything from customer service to entrepreneurial skills and marketing, exploring the different fields that were presented to them.

Ending the day with State Farm gift bags and a complimentary lunch, "Bring Your Daughter to Work" day was a total success.

“I think when your business reaches out to your schools or to teach life skills – that’s the real innovation,” Walton encouraged the community to take advantage of employing a student to influence the future of the Ellis County workforce.

"And Innovation is not technology - innovation is saying I’m going to bring you in, use the skills you have, and put it into practice and have it make sense. And then you can go back to school and enhance it further, but sometimes you can’t learn until you can see the goal or where the destination is. And I’m glad we were able to continue doing this and provide these girls with a new opportunity,” she finished with a smile.

To connect with State Farm’s Red Oak Branch, visit andreawalton.com or call 972-617-7770. To contact Bridges Training Foundation, visit bridgestf.org or call 214-903-7771.

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Chelsea Groomer, @ChelseaGroomer

(469)-517-1450