Greetings friends and family,
For almost 10 years I have worked in the field of education, committing myself to improving the educational outcomes of children growing up in our nation’s highest-poverty communities. Through my work with Citizen Schools I have the privilege of following my passion each and every day. I recruit and train adult volunteers from different professions, ages, races, and hobbies to teach what they know and love to 11 to 14 year olds during the afternoon hours—introducing students to different career paths, as well as making them aware of the knowledge, skills, hard work, and perseverance it takes to achieve success in school and in careers. The students have a tremendous amount of fun learning from their “Citizen Teachers” and seeing how the academics they study in school are relevant in the “real world”.
This past fall architects and developers from across the Greater Boston area volunteered their time every week for 10 weeks to teach middle school students about their professions. Every week students traveled to architecture firms across Boston to learn from the pros the variety of skills involved in "City Building". Each group of students, working alongside their professional mentors, came up with a design idea to help improve their city. Students learned about green building practices, understanding community needs, making smart decisions while working within a budget, and creating blueprints for their designs. At the end of the semester, all of the students and volunteers came together at Boston's City Hall to showcase their final projects for a team of "celebrity judges" from the architecture, development, and design world. Tears were brought to my eyes as I watched middle school students speaking confidently to these judges and an audience of 200 other adults about the designs they came up with, how those designs met green building standards, and how the designs would positively impact the community. Students from Revere redesigned Revere Beach's Wonderland Amusement Park--a beautiful and bustling amusement park from the early 1900s (see photo at left). Students from Dorchester designed the outdoor community park space of a new high rise building going up in downtown Boston. Students from South Boston created treehouses complete with windmills and other energy-saving amenities. The students were excited to share their work, and parents, teachers, and volunteers were filled with pride over the exceptional quality of the students work and the tremendous amount the students had learned in just 10 weeks.
Every day thousands of volunteer Citizen Teachers--like these architects and developers--give their time to provide Citizen Schools students with amazing learning opportunities like this one. You can hear about the impact of our volunteer-led apprenticeships directly from our students by watching the video to the left.
I am sending you this page to help spread the important message of Citizen Schools and to ask for your support in helping provide more powerful opportunities like this to our students. I am deeply committed to raising these funds because I care about the students I serve in Massachusetts, the thousands of students Citizen Schools is serving across the country, and the many more we hope to serve in the years ahead. If you can give $10, $25, $50 or more it will help tremendously—every dollar helps.
Thank you for believing in our students, supporting an educational reform strategy that is working, and helping to bring more high-impact learning opportunities to our nation's youth.
My best to you always,
"Citizens for Citizen Schools (C4CS) is an annual grassroots campaign where all Citizen Schools staff commit to raising funds by spreading our mission to their friends, family and colleagues. Past years have generated a significant amount of donations and, equally important, increased awareness for our education reform initiative. This year, more than ever, we need your support."