As a wedding gift to celebrate our future together, we invite you to help Citizen Schools continue to change students' lives by donating through June 30th. Any amount will help!
The student standing proudly in the middle of the photo is Adam Barriga. When he was a 6th grader at the Edwards Middle School, Adam took an apprenticeship called "It IS Rocket Science" taught by volunteer, David Mantus, a scientist from Cubist Pharmaceuticals who many years ago was inspired to pursue science through learning from his dad, a scientist who worked on the lunar space-landing module, and wanted to ignite that same spark that he felt in the next generation of scientists.
After 10-weeks of apprenticeships, Adam joined 100 other Citizen Schools students to present all that they learned and discovered through robotics, video game design, Crime Scene investigation and other exciting topics to family members, public officials and the community at the Science Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) WOW! event. This event was hosted at the Massachusetts State House, right smack in the center of Boston. In this photo, Adam had just finished presenting his own learning of physics, geometry and algebra (in 6th grade!) through telling his family about the virtual space mission that he and his peers navigated with a team at NASA, where they had to utilize math equations and their new scientific knowledge of space to help get a runaway ship safely back to Earth.
Throughout the whole presentation, Adam was beaming. His knowledge of the math was impressive, but even moreso was his confidence and pride in his work. When asked about his favorite parts of the apprenticeship Adam told his grandfather "I like all of it! Being a rocket scientist is fun and I'm good at it! You get to learn what goes on way out there and help people stay safe too. Dr. Mantus said I could do it! I have to keep working hard, but I can do it!"
At this, his grandfater quickly wiped away a tear from his eye, put his arm around his grandson and asked us to take a picture so he could remember this proud time for his family. You see, Adam's grandfather came to the US from Latin America 20+ years before and he works at the MA State House as a custodian. Every day, 6 days/week he cleans the shiny marble floor, the very same floor that his 12-year old grandson had just stood on, dazzling them with his scientific knowledge and excitement about his own future.
Dear Family and Friends,
Kel started working for Citizen Schools 4 years ago because she wanted to impact students' lives and build community in Boston, connecting kids to passionate and caring adults to teach and in spire them. Citizen schools is a national education nonprofit striving to close the achievement and opportunity gap for low-income middle school students, and we know many of you have heard her stories, but wanted to take this opportunity to share Adam's. As we approach our own future together, we're ever more cognizant of the futures' of these kids and what we can do together to make them great!
Kel's work with Citizen Schools is so important to us because we've seen first hand students like Adam who’ve benefited from it. We've met kids who never played with tinker toys but now know how to build robots and want to be engineers. She's taught students who struggled with learning English but now have argued a mock trial in front of a real judge and jurors. Ken's learned from kids who’d never met someone who worked in an office building but now have discussed financial markets and architectural designs with executives in board rooms. 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.
The kids visit colleges while they are still in middle school. They learn to be creative problem solvers, collaborators and leaders as they try on different career hats through apprenticeships. And they learn the foundational academic and organizational skills to make success possible.
Kel's job is to recruit, train and support hundreds of skilled volunteers, like Dr. David Mantus, who teach their knowledge and passions to middle schoolers. Because of staff-led and volunteer commitments, Citizen Schools students are attending school more, getting better grades, and graduating and going onto college at higher rates than their peers. Students like Adam are gaining confidence, realizing that their dreams are possible and are learning how to take steps now to make them a reality.
We believe in Citizen Schools and are so proud of the students, families, young educators, volunteers and supporters who engage in this work. Will you get involved too?
As a wedding gift to celebrate our future together, we invite you to help Citizen Schools continue to change students' lives by donating through June 30th. Any amount will help! And feel free to spread the word...
Lots of love, bear hugs, and big thanks,
Kelly & Ken