SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
The Air Force is known for its rich demographics, diverse backgrounds and understanding that everyone has a unique story.
Kendra Humphrey, work life specialist with the Airman and Family Readiness Center, volunteered for the Diversity Champions committee, and was selected among a group of seven Schriever Airmen dedicated to educating youth about diversity in the Air Force.
The Diversity Champion’s task began in January, looking at Air Force demographics such as gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status, determining where the numbers were low and what could be done to educate youth about the demographics.
Additionally, the committee was tasked with creating two student enrichment programs for local schools to be completed by the end of 2018.
“A lot of times, we get students who are interested in the military and want to know what they can do now to prepare for a career,” Humphrey said. “Whether you choose the military or not, there’s so many different things you can do to start preparing yourself now.”
First Lt. Scarlett Rodriguez, public affairs officer with the 50th Space Wing Public Affairs Office, said being part of the Diversity Champions is a unique opportunity.
“We are not only trying to reach out to an array of kids and say how great the Air Force is, but we are showing them their predecessors, telling them their stories and letting them know anything is possible when you work for it,” she said. “Our diversity team here at Schriever cares about not only reaching our young audience, but aims to strike a chord with the kids who might not feel their futures are paved with greatness, who don't have something to aspire to.”
Humphrey added educating youth on different cultures and why Airmen chose to join the Air Force is the first step.
“We want people to tell children, ‘This was my culture, my upbringing and this is what drove me to join the Air Force,’” she said. “Then we want to explain the career options, education benefits and travel benefits available if you choose to explore a career in the military.”
After working with Col. Jacob Middleton, vice commander of the 50th Space Wing and Diversity Champion, the committee decided to choose Ellicott school district to work with because it’s in proximity to Schriever AFB.
The committee invited both Ellicott middle and high school to visit Schriever AFB Oct. 24-25.
“We will be working with a handful of different squadrons, providing hands on demonstrations and interactive events, providing that educational background,” Humphrey said. “We’ll also have individuals speak on their culture, ethnic background, what drove them to join the military and the benefits they’ve received since they’ve joined.”
Humphrey explained Ellicott greatly appreciated the opportunity, showing their support and encouragement about the event.
“It’s been a great effort to bring this together, and we received so much support and enthusiasm from Ellicott,” Humphrey said. “Ellicott is far out there in a small farming community, and because of their income they may not have a lot of opportunities and experiences. It’s just nice to bring these opportunities to not only the students but the parents as well.”
Humphrey said this event will give students, teachers and parents a glance at various careers, focusing on bigger and more known squadrons like the 2nd Space Operations Squadron, who are responsible for GPS.
“A lot of times, I think students get stuck in their head it’s all about deployments and fighting war,” she said. “That’s not to say it’s not a possibility, but there’s so many different careers, and a lack of education on some of the career options available. We just want to make it fun and interesting.”
Humphrey and the team are excited to have the support of the wing and squadrons, and are humbly appreciative to provide this opportunity for Ellicott students.
“I just want to encourage them and let them know it doesn’t matter what your economic status is, what school you went to or how you were raised,” she said. “There’s so many different ways to be successful in the military, and anywhere, really.”
Humphrey’s favorite part about being a Diversity Champion is the opportunity to go out into the community and educate people, whether they are active duty, reserve or civilian.
“You can serve your country in so many different domains,” she said. “There are so many opportunities our youth need to be knowledgeable about.”
“Diversity isn't just about getting a sampling of people,” Rodriguez added. “We’re a diverse group, we come from all over the world, share different experiences and offer a diverse opportunity to students. It's about using your culture, experiences and differences to make the world, or in this case the Air Force, a better place.”