Citizen Schools is a national non-profit that partners with low-performing, low-income urban schools and communities to expand the learning day in order to bridge the achievement and opportunity gap. I joined this organization 4 years ago and am still deeply committed to and passionate about the work that we do. One of the reasons is that I get to experience and hear about first-hand the transformative power of our program.
Richard* is one of those students. Ever since his first day at Citizen Schools, I knew that there was something unique and special about this student. He has a personality that is immediately likeable and such an abudance of charisma! When he speaks, you're pulled in and you can't help but think, "Wow! What an articulate young man!" Looking at him now in his 2nd year of Citizen Schools, you would've never guessed the struggles he experienced before beginning the program. His mother explained to me the other day that she was so grateful for our program and the help that we have given her son. Surprised at that statement about such an extraordinary young man, I asked her to elaborate. She told me that before Citizen Schools, she and Richard would stay up late at night working on his homework together. There would be crying, yelling, and frustration from both sides of the table in a hopeless attempt to finish the work. Often times, work would not be completed and as a result, Richard would bring home C's on his report card. She explained to me that Citizen Schools helped Richard in getting his homework done every day while he was in program, and helping him complete it with high quality. His report card grades have turned around to A's and B's, and he himself has set goals in areas where he needs to improve. Not only have we supported him academically, but he has a clear idea of his future career aspiration (video game designer) and the steps he would need to take starting now in order to reach that goal, such as apply to one of the local high schools that focuses on technology and continue to take our technology-based apprenticeships. Just this semester, I have paired him up to work with one of our EC students during homework time because Richard now has most of his homework completed. And to think that just two years ago, this young man who is now patiently teaching another student how to write basic words was once struggling in all areas of his academics. His mother attributes the transformation to Citizen Schools, and I have no doubt in my mind that we did indeed play a part in helping to support him.
Our program strives not only to support our students in their present academic standing, but to really prepare them for the future. Our goal is that all of our students have the information, belief, and access in order to be prepared to enter college or careers after high school. We expose them to real-world careers through our apprenticeships and develop their 21st century skills such as leadership, oral communication, data analysis, etc.
However, we can't get it done without your support. Please consider giving financially in order to help our program continue to run and help support students like Richard.
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