Partnership Spotlight on AB: Shaping the Future Generation of Social Entrepreneurs

At Citizen Schools, we believe that cultivating partnerships with organizations who are deeply aligned with our mission is essential. These partnerships help to provide diverse learning opportunities that will prepare our students for the 21st-century workforce. In support of this goal, Citizen Schools New York has partnered with AllianceBernstein (AB), a leading global asset management firm, to provide a range of enriching experiences to our students.

Over 100 employees from AB have taught apprenticeships since 2010. Through this strong partnership, our students have had the incredible opportunity to forge bonds with a team of caring adults, who we hope, will help inspire them to discover and achieve their future goals.

This semester, volunteers from AB are leading the “One Hen Academy” apprenticeship, in which students have the opportunity to work in teams to develop and promote a product of their own creation. The apprenticeship uses business models set forth in the acclaimed children’s book One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway. Students calculate their products’ estimated costs, revenue, and what charity they would support with a surplus in profits. Further, students are not only learning about becoming astute entrepreneurs, but also how to present in front of large groups, which is an essential professional skill.

One AB volunteer shared more about the importance of presentation skills, saying “the students are very put together and are so thoughtful about things. We want them to feel comfortable being in front of a big group and able to articulate what they are most passionate about.”

Additionally, when asked what key points they’ve taken from this experience another volunteer shared: “I think that one of the coolest things happened in Week Two when we were having a discussion around social issues and coming up with challenges that people face. For 6th, 7th, and 8th graders -- our students were sharing some pretty insightful comments. The depth of the conversations and their acute awareness of very adult issues really impressed us… This is a cool age group to connect with. They’re not too young to not understand what’s going on, but you can still make a big impact because they’re still so malleable at this point.”

Teaching apprenticeships through Citizen Schools gives volunteers the chance to foster a nurturing relationship with our students. A relationship that’ll make an impact on a student during the most pivotal stage of their life. We are thrilled that AB’s employees are discovering that journey to developing the necessary skills, networks, and mindsets for success begins in the middle grades. We are continuously grateful AB’s demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion, and service within the local community.