Even superheroes and vampires set life goals. Or non-life goals in the later case.

Certainly Batman has big plans for his crime-fighting career in Gotham City. And the vampire Edward obviously had something in mind for the teen Bella in "Twilight."

But it's unnatural for fourth-graders to think about their future. The future seems pretty far away when you're only 9 or 10.

Still it's not too early to think about career goals. Even the tweens know you can't get directions if you don't know where you're going.

The Asia Pacific Family Center in Industry is helping the students set some goals. In a new program "ID for Success" the center is encouraging them to set goals. The ID stands for Important Decisions.

"Goals

Johnny Chiu thinks about the goals he wants to set for himself during the ID for Success program in Rowland Unified School District.
help you chase your dreams," decided Andre Alvarez.

The 10-year-old at Ybarra Elementary in Walnut wants to become a baseball player.

"I'm a catcher on my local team, they call me the Great Wall of China because nothing gets past me," the enthusiastic fourth-grader explained.

Youth specialist Priscilla Hsieh encouraged all the kids to think about the things they like to do.

"I liked to ride horses, dance and was the queen of the handball court in the fourth grade," Hsieh recalled.

Andre listed play sports, write sports news and hang out with friends as his three favorite things.

Classmate Vallery Lau likes to play the piano, swim and play with her sister. Vallery noted that she turns 10 in August.

Nine-year-old R.T. Maddox said he likes to skateboard and play football. When asked what R.T. stood for, he replied "Nothing, it's just R.T."

Juliana Hassan, 9, and Chasity Cortez, 10, said they both like to read about vampires in the "Twilight" series.

Hsieh told the students to use their list to think about possible careers, then set goals to get these jobs.

"Batman's goal was to save Gotham City, so he has to develop plans to defeat villains like the Joker and

A fourth-grade student's list of three things she'd like to accomplish when she grows up.
Penguin," the family center instructor explained.

The fourth-graders thought about jobs. Then they listed three careers that might interest them. On the next page, they drew a picture of their dream occupation.

Jean-Phillip Lanuqueitte sketched out a curling robotic dragon.

"I want to become a robotics engineer," the quiet young man said. "Or maybe a biologist or geologist."

Brittany Clark drew a classroom, complete with chalkboard and desks. The 9-year-old would like to be a teacher, model or hairdresser.

R.T. drew football goalposts and a skateboard ramp, while Andre penciled in a baseball player with Boston emblazoned on the uniform.

"I wanted to be a doctor, police woman or dolphin trainer," Hseih

Asia Pacific Family Center's Program Director Simon Wai helps fourth-grade student Crystal Yao decide on some goals.
told the class.

Next the students had to plan three things that will help them prepare for their chosen career.

Nicole Perez, 9, said she sings and dances to prepare for her dream of becoming an actress/singer.

How does one get ready for the Marines?

Nicolas Uytengsu said he practices 45 minutes every Wednesday by doing pushups and situps. The 10-year-old wants to become a Marine, or a SWAT member, or a Navy Seal.

Over the next three months, the fourth-graders will refine their goals, as well as their ability to make important decisions.

The ID for Success program will also study other issues, including peer influence and bullies, as well as the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"We want to prepare them to make good decisions," explained Simon Wai, program director for the Asian Pacific Family Center.

Wai said the center worked with students at Blandford, Shelyn and Rowland elementary schools in the first semester. The group is teaching Ybarra, Farjardo and Jellick fourth-graders this semester.

The program is funded through Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe's office.

Ybarra teacher Bob Eastwood said the center has worked with his class three years.

"The students are happy to take the one-hour lessons once a week. At the end, they're going to make videos of the skits they're writing to show what they've learned," Eastwood said.

Who knows, maybe a superhero or vampire will pop up in one of the kids' videos.

richard.irwin@sgvn.com

(626) 962-8811, Ext. 2801