Citizens of the World:
In the last few days, I've been getting a lot of sympathy calls, and I want to start by making it clear that no one should waste a second feeling sorry for me. For 3 years, I've been getting paid to do what I love most and, in a world with real problems, I've been absurdly lucky. That said, I've been suddenly put in a very public predicament and my bosses are demanding an immediate action.
Three years ago, I signed a contract with Citizen Schools to begin working in the September of 2007. Like a lot of us, I grew up watching and learning from great educators and the chance to one day become and educator myself has meant everything to me. I worked long and hard to get that opportunity, passed up far more lucrative offers, and since 2007 I have spent many semesters and hours thinking of ways to extend the franchise long into the future. It was my mistaken belief that, like my predecessors, I would have the benefit of some time and, just as important, some degree of support from pretty rich people. Building a lasting audience after school is impossible without both.
But sadly, we were never given that chance. After only surviving the economic breakdown of recent memory, with my team at Campbell Middle School in its infancy, Citizen Schools has decided to react to their terrible difficulties in prime-time by making a change in their long-established fundraising practices.
Last Thursday, Citizen Schools executives told me they intended to continue its Firstgiving Campaign to offset the yearly operating costs of our non-profit. For 15 years Citizen Schools has developed the academic and leadership skills students need to succeed in high school, college, the workplace and civic life. I sincerely believe that due to the lack of funding, the loss of a program like ours will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of after school programming. Citizen Schools without the support of Citizens simply isn't Citizen Schools.
So it has come to this: I cannot express in words how much I enjoy working with my students and what an enormous personal disappointment it is for me to consider losing it. My staff and I have worked unbelievably hard and we are very proud of our contribution to the community of Campbell. But I cannot participate in what I honestly believe is the coolest youth program ever, without asking for your continued support. Some people will make the argument that other organizations and the those people at those other after school programs, securing private funding doesn't matter. But with Citizen Schools, I believe nothing could matter more.
There has been speculation about my going to another organization, to set the record straight, I currently have no other offer and honestly have no idea what happens next. My hope is that Citizen Schools and I can resolve this quickly so that my staff, crew, and I can run a program we can be proud of, for a company that values our work.
Have a great day and, for the record, I am truly sorry about Conan's hair; it's always been that way.