"I want be a leader in my community to make a difference in the world. I thought I’d have to wait till I was grown up to do that, but in my Pay it Forward apprenticeship I learned that I can start now, even as a 7th grader. I can be a role model for my friends and for little kids and even for grown ups. I can show them how good it is to try hard at school and help other people. I learned that I can be a friend to everyone, even bullies so they won’t want to pick on kids. One by one I’m gonna help people see how helping others is good and they can be leaders too.” - Shamika, Citizen Schools student
Dear Family and Friends,
Citizen schools is a national education nonprofit striving to close the achievement and opportunity gap for low-income middle school students, and I know many of you have heard my stories about our students, and Citizen Schools’ powerful programs.
My work with Citizen Schools is so important to me because I’ve seen first hand students like Shamika who’ve benefited from it. Citizen Schools inspires middle school students to continue their education and pursue meaningful careers by providing access to new experiences, by building key academic skills, and by creating positive, consistent relationships with staff and volunteers.
Our students visit colleges while they are still in middle school. They learn to be creative problem solvers in our hands-on apprenticeship courses where they work with skilled volunteers to invent solutions to engineering problems, test different soil compositions to improve garden growth, master the physics of football, design apps for Google’s Droid phone, create marketing campaigns and PSAs for nonprofits, and present their legal case in front of real judges at the courthouse. Citizen Schools students get to experience success and learn how they can work hard, set goals and put themselves on a path to continue achieving it.
My job is to recruit, train and support our cadre of skilled volunteers who teach their knowledge and passions to middle schoolers. Because of their commitments and the hard work of our full-time teaching staff every day, our students are attending school more, getting better grades, and graduating and going onto college at higher rates than their peers. Students like Shamika are gaining confidence, realizing that their dreams are possible and are taking steps now to make them a reality.
I believe in this organization and am so proud of the students, families, young educators, volunteers and supporters who engage in our work. What do you think? Will you get engaged too?
You can help Citizen Schools continue to change students' lives by donating to my campaign to raise $1,000 by March 15th. Any amount will support us in reaching students, and helping them build confidence, gain new perspectives and skills and take charge of their own futures.
Many many thanks for any amout that you can give to support our efforts. If you’d like to learn more, this 2 minute NBC clip is a great start, and I’m happy to email or talk further too.
All my best,
p.s. If you’d ever like to see the impact of Citizen Schools and the progress of students like Shamika first hand, let me know and I’m happy to set you up to visit one of our programs in MA, NYC, NJ, NC, TX, NM, or CA. Or if you want to teach your own apprenticeship, I can set you up to share your passion with kids too. You name it, you can teach it!