Somerville Citizen teachers honored with President’s Volunteer Service Award

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Each year, the President of the United States recognizes volunteers throughout the country with the President’s Volunteer Service Awards (PVSA).  Somerville residents Alexandra Armstrong, Gabriel Begun and Xinyue Lu are among this year’s recipients.  They shared their professional “know-how” with middle school students in low-income communities during after school hours. The mentorship and support they provide is helping close the opportunity gap which exists between students in underserved communities and their peers from more affluent communities.

During the 2017-2018 school year, nearly 4000 volunteers worked in our classrooms impacting over 29,000 students across the country.  2018 PVSA winners worked in expanded learning time apprenticeships during after-school hours this school year teaching focusing on a field they either work in or have a particular expertise in. These apprenticeships run for ten weeks each semester, offering hands-on, project-based learning 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, 3-D Printing, Social Justice, and more.

Honorees show a notable commitment to service.  Gold level recipients taught 4 of the past 4 semesters, silver level recipients taught 3 of the past 4 semesters and bronze level recipients of the two of the last  semesters.  Lu was recognized at the gold level and Armstrong and Begun at the bronze level.

“We thank our PVSA winners for their unparalleled commitment to our students, communities and the mission of Citizen Schools,” said Citizen Schools CEO Emily McCann. “Their gifts of time and talent help our students access and explore potential career pathways and support students’ academic and social emotional growth.  Their work lies at the heart of our mission.”

About Citizen Schools

Citizen Schools is a national nonprofit organization that partners with middle schools to re-imagine the learning  day for underserved adolescents across the country. Citizen Schools mobilizes AmeriCorps educators and volunteer “Citizen Teachers” who work in the classroom setting to share real-world knowledge and challenge students with hands-on projects and problems.  The experiences are designed to ignite curiosity, engage students in their unique learning process, and develop skills and mindsets required for success in high school, college and beyond. For more information, please visit