BENEFITING: CITIZEN SCHOOLS INC
ORGANIZER: CITIZEN SCHOOLS INC
Welcome to my fundraising page for Citizen Schools!
Between now and June 30, 2015, I am personally seeking to raise $7,500 for Citizen Schools (www.citizenschools.org). I would be grateful for your tax-deductible donation of any size to Citizen Schools, a 501(c)(3) organization.
My efforts are part of a critical effort to raise the funds necessary to allow Citizen Schools to scale in Boston and nationally. This year, Citizen Schools is serving over 1,400 students at six schools in Boston and Chelsea, and relies greatly on the creativity, energy and hard work of our Council members to recruit volunteers and fundraise for our mission. Over the next five years, Citizen Schools aims to grow substantially to serve 50% of Boston's 6th grade students.
Background on Citizen Schools
Although students from all backgrounds aspire to complete college, students from families in the bottom income quartile are less than a tenth as likely as those from the top quartile to earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24 (8% vs. 82%). Three decades of education reform have not evened the playing field; in fact, new evidence indicates that “the achievement gap between children from high- and low-income families is roughly 30 to 40 percent larger among children born in 2001 than among those born twenty-five years earlier." While the causes of this achievement gap are complex, the consequences are clear: millions of young people are falling off the path to educational and economic success, limiting their own upward mobility and preventing the country from realizing its full potential.
Citizen Schools’ mission is to educate children and strengthen communities. Citizen Schools strives to close the achievement and opportunity gaps for low-income middle school students by extending the learning day and filling the additional time with rigorous academic skill-building, hands-on apprenticeship courses and curricula designed to prepare students to succeed in top-tier high schools and colleges.
Citizen Schools works with middle school students at a critical point in their educational trajectory. We help to fill in "the missing middle" between efforts focused on school readiness for young children and those aimed at drop-out prevention for high school students. By focusing on middle school, we capitalize on this critical developmental period and inflection point, effectively setting students' sights on high school graduation and college matriculation, while building the skills, beliefs and networks they will need to reach those goals. Our program is comprised of three main elements that provide comprehensive support to struggling middle school students.
Academic Support: We provide students with daily homework support and 60-90 minute lessons in English Language Arts and math that are designed to align with state and national standards, and are customized to meet school needs.
Explorations: Citizen Schools takes students are field trips to colleges and workplaces. Our program teaches middle school students about the skills, knowledge, and motivation to succeed in school, college, and career.
Apprenticeships: Twice each week, students work alongside professional, adult volunteers from the community who share their passion and expertise in 11-week "apprenticeship" courses that culminate in public celebrations of learning (the "WOW!") and give students the opportunity to give back to their community. Working with volunteers from companies and universities, students argue mock trials, plant organic gardens, build web pages for their schools, compete in soccer tournaments, publish community newspapers, video-conference with NASA, race solar cars and much more.
My Involvement with Citizen Schools
I have been involved with Citizen Schools for more than 13 years now. I serve as a writing coach for an 8th grade student each year and I am the Chair of the Citizen Schools MA Council of Champions.
During the past thirteen years, I have had the privilege of working with the following Citizen Schools apprentices, each of whom has gone on to a college-track high school, several of whom are already in college and some of whom are college graduates:
- Vanessa Beliard – Clark Atlanta University, Class of 2011; attended high school in Atlanta, GA
- Temique Roach – University of New Hampshire, Class of 2012; Boston Community Leadership Academy, Class of 2008
- Azia Carle – Kalamazoo College, Class of 2013; Boston Latin School, Class of 2009
- Ergy Lormine – Suffolk University, Class of 2014; City on a Hill Charter High School, Class of 2010
- Roobvia Bernadin – College of the Holy Cross, Class of 2015 (received a full scholarship!); Boston Arts Academy, Class of 2011 (check out her keynote speech at the 2010 Citizen Schools WOW Affair gala in this YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de_ESNhTMgM)
- Kenya Joseph – Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Class of 2016; City on a Hill Charter High School, Class of 2012
- Frankline Mardi – Mount Holyoke College, Class of 2016; John D. O'Bryant School of Math and Science, Class of 2012
- Emmanuel Laguerre – Boston College, Class of 2018; Newman Preparatory School, Class of 2014 (Boston private school) (photograph above is from his high school graduation!)
- Vania Pina – Malden High School, Class of 2015
- Dennylee Suliveres – Boston Arts Academy, Class of 2016
- Briana Laboy – Boston Arts Academy, Class of 2017
- Aiceya Blackwell – Community Academy of Health and Science, Class of 2018 (photograph above is from her 8GA graduation ceremony)
- Kaila Williams Pena – Dever McCormack Middle School; high school TBD
I could not be more proud of these students for their hard work, smart choices and commitment to success.
The Citizen Schools Difference
Through my years with Citizen Schools, I have had the opportunity to observe firsthand the difference that a program like Citizen Schools can make in the life of an urban middle school student.
Whether it is through one-on-one mentoring, the opportunity to try new things through apprenticeships that span the spectrum, individualized attention to writing skills, visits to local and distant colleges, help in navigating the maze that is the Boston high school choice process or the simple confidence that comes from being told that success is possible, the data is clear: students who participate in Citizen Schools outperform their matched peers by a significant margin.
A series of rigorous independent evaluations have reported that Citizen Schools' students significantly out-perform their peers on leading indicators of educational attainment, including: attendance, grades and prompt graduation from high school. Citizen Schools Massachusetts was founded at a single school site in 1995 and now enrolls over 1,400 middle school students across 6 schools in Boston and Chelsea, including 20% of Boston Public Schools’ 6th graders.
If you want more information on the difference Citizen Schools is making, check out the data yourself at http://www.citizenschools.org/about/results.
I have many reasons why I believe passionately in the work that Citizen Schools is doing. But the best way to get a sense of the difference that Citizen Schools makes is to hear from Citizen Schools alumni directly (click on the YouTube video above). When I first met my former apprentice Roobvia Bernadin, she was an 8th grader on my firm's Citizen Schools team – full of potential, but unsure of how to achieve it. Today, she has blossomed into a capable, confident, mature and talented young woman. She graduated from Boston Arts Academy in 2011, where she majored in singing and spent her spare time volunteering for Citizen Schools (even producing a student talent show fundraiser for Citizen Schools). Due to her hard work and commitment to achieve her goals, Roobvia received a full scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross where, as a senior, she is studying music and is pre-med. Roobvia is just one of Citizen Schools' many success stories. With your support, we can help more students achieve their dreams.