More than 35 Huntsville Center employees from various offices throughout the organization allowed their children ages 5 to 16 to "shadow" them while they performed their jobs during the day.

Huntsville Center's Executive Office employees Martha Cook, Gail Overman and Nancy Wilburn coordinated the mentoring activity.

According to the Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Foundation, the purpose of the day is to empower children to plan for the future and to help them understand the value of a good education. The annual event was first created for girls in 1993 by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The initial purpose of the day was to help increase self-esteem in young girls while exposing them to future career options. A decade later, boys started joining their parents at work on this day.

ACE Information Technology desktop support technician, John LaPietra said he participated in the event to show his 6-year-old sons, Ethan LaPietra and Adan LaPietra what he does on his job. He enjoyed taking them around with him while he took care of support calls throughout Huntsville Center.

"My sons are having so much fun watching me go about my day taking care of computer issues," LaPietra said. "They are only 6 years old, so this is actually their first "Take Your Daughter and Son to Work Day. I am especially proud of having them here. I hope to have an opportunity to bring them again next year."

LaPietra wasn't the only Huntsville Center employee to have two kids participating in the mentoring activity. Huntsville Center Commander Col. Robert Ruch brought his daughters, Ally Ruch and Erin Ruch to work with him to learn more about his job at Huntsville Center and to learn about other careers at the organization.

The girls said they came prepared. After talking with their dad about their career interests prior to the visit, they came up with a plan to interview a few Huntsville Center employees to see first-hand what employees do in specific career fields.

"We took our dad's advice and interviewed some other people about their jobs, "thirteen year-old Ally Ruch said. "We talked with people in cost engineering, civil engineering, interior design and environmental, all careers we have an interest in. We learned what we have to do to prepare for these careers."

"I liked seeing what my dad does at his job. I enjoyed meeting people in other careers too," ten year-old Erin Ruch said. "It was a great experience."

The students received a token for their participation in the activity and got a chance to talk with Ruch during the day. Ruch said the event was a success.

"We gave students a chance to better prepare themselves for a variety of jobs and become aware of the skills needed to be hired in specific professions," Ruch said.