This week our spotlight is on Citizen Schools, one of our favorite nonprofits that started locally (right in Charlestown) before expanding their programs nationally. Their mission is simple: expand the learning day at middle schools in low-income communities by connecting a team of adults with students. They mobilize a second shift of afternoon educators to provide academic support, leadership development, and “apprenticeships” – hands-on projects taught by volunteers from local businesses and organizations. Volunteers help children connect what they learn in school to the real world and get excited about opportunities for their futures.
And Citizen Schools has a proven track record. Evaluations show better attendance, better grades, new skills, and transformed aspirations of students who participate in their programs. Evaluations also reveal that high school graduation rates increase by 20% and odds of earning a college degree triple. We should also mention that interest in pursuing STEM careers also more than doubles in schools utilizing Citizen Schools programs. That’s what we like to hear!
Citizen Schools is closing the opportunity gap – ensuring that low-income students benefit from the same enrichment opportunities as children in upper-income families. However, their work requires the mobilization of an army of volunteer teachers – everyday professionals just like you! Volunteers receive up-front training, weekly lesson-plan assistance, and are paired with a trained Citizen Schools educator for on-going in-class support. Citizen Schools is currently recruiting in Massachusetts for their spring apprenticeships. Serving over 1,400 students in 6 middle schools in Boston and Chelsea, they need your help! Want to help change a child’s life in just 10 afternoons? Click here to learn more about these apprenticeships and help spread the word!