Rachel Pollinger, of Medford, is among this year’s Gold-level President’s Volunteer Service Award honorees. Pollinger is being recognized for her work as a Citizen Teacher with the national nonprofit, Citizen Schools.
Each year, the president of the United States recognizes volunteers throughout the country with the President’s Volunteer Service Awards.
As Citizen Teachers, these volunteers spend several hours each week sharing their professional “know-how” with middle school students in low-income communities. Their work is helping close the opportunity gap that exists between students in underserved communities and their peers from more affluent communities.
During the 2016-17 school year, more than 2,300 Citizen Teachers taught more than 1,000 apprenticeships, impacting more than 5,300 students in six states. These apprenticeships run for 10 weeks each semester, offering hands-on, project-based programs that help students connect the lessons they learn during school hours with real-world applications beyond the classroom. Many of the apprenticeships focus heavily on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and include lego robotics, rocket science, mock trial and social justice.
Gold and Silver Award honorees show a notable commitment to service. Gold-level recipients taught four of the past four semesters, and silver-level recipients taught three of the past four semesters. This year, 51 Citizen Teachers were recognized at the gold level, and 61 at the silver level.
“Our gold and silver level Presidential Service Award Winners are accomplished and dedicated volunteers who are changing the lives of the students they work with,” Citizen Schools CEO Emily McCann said. “They serve not only as mentors and role models, but also motivational figures. Our students see possibility for their own futures in our Citizen Teachers and are inspired to set high goals for themselves. We thank our volunteers for their enthusiastic commitment to the mission of Citizen Schools.”