Now that I've been a Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools for six months, I have a much better sense of what our program is all about. Most of you know a little about my work with Citizen Schools, but I thought it would be helpful for me to explain further. As an organization, we provide afterschool programming to middle school students in seven states. Students in our program are called apprentices because they have the opportunity to meet with local professionals and learn about potential careers hands-on. Last semester, at my campus, we offered apprenticeships in law, cooking, investment, self-defense, nutrition, music criticism, and flag football.
I work with a team of sixth graders four days a week. Along with the apprenticeships, every day we have a block of homework time, where students can work in a productive environment and receive academic support. We also offer Math League, which reinforces the math lessons that students learn during the school day. We incorporate games and other hands-on activities to trick students into learning while they have fun.
People often think I’m a little crazy for returning to middle school. Many people remember their own middle school experience as a confusing time. We were never quite sure where we stood with our friends, families, or teachers. During middle school, students figure out if they are going to work hard in school or laugh it off, if they are going to respect others or continually push boundaries, and who they are as people. And of course, all of this can shift on a daily basis.
This is why it is so important for all students to have someone at school who believes that they can succeed and values them for their strengths.
As a Teaching Fellow with Citizen Schools, on one level my job is to coach middle school students on the academic and social skills they need to navigate middle school and, further down the road, to get to college. On a deeper level, my job is to believe in students and empower them to believe in themselves and their capacity to achieve great things.
In order to continue to run our program, we are launching our annual grassroots fundraising campaign. You can help us continue to deliver excellent afterschool programs to middle school students. Please consider contributing to my personal fundraising goal of $350, and remember that no amount is too small to make a difference in the lives of young people and their communities.
Thank you for supporting my work Citizen Schools.