At Citizen Schools the theory of six degrees of separation is much bigger than a connection to actor Kevin Bacon. We've seen the power of networking come to life in our students. This fall at our 6 Degrees networking events across the country, they've met engineers, bankers, artists, scientists and more. This is what happens when American citizens connect with kids...
1. New Jersey
In Newark, New Jersey, a group of 6th graders from the Louise A. Spencer School experienced 6 Degrees in an apprenticeship class led by two employees from Cognizant and Citizen Schools staff member, Jessica Fick.
On December 5, they gathered at the Cognizant office to show off their newly developed skills. Citizen Teacher and Cognizant employee, Young Lee, was proud as the kids met with his colleagues. He said, "I believe that making a good first impression and connecting with others is an important life skill to have. I was really proud to see our students grow in confidence during the event. They eased into the exercise and grew comfortable speaking with strangers and showed their confidence."
The event served as a catalyst for one young man, Abdullah, who realized that he wanted to become a mechanical engineer and work for Cognizant in the future. To read Abdullah's story and find out more about the 6 Degrees of Newark event, check out this blog post by Jessica Fick.
2. New Mexico
On November 30, a group of 6th, 7th and 8th graders from Van Buren Middle School headed to the Fidelity office in the Mesa Del Sol building south of Albuquerque, New Mexico. In a room full of Fidelity employees, community volunteers, members of the Air Force and even former state Senator Tom Rutherford, the kids participated in an evening of speed-networking.
Interim Executive Director of Citizen Schools New Mexico Liza Aguirre-Oviedo said, "The 6 Degrees of Albuquerque event unleashed and embraced many outstanding skills and talents of Citizen Schools students. Mobilizing over 30 volunteers representing a variety of professions, students were engaged and excited to showcase their newly developed networking skills. Connecting with each student, listening to their take-aways and teach-backs, was truly a most compelling experience."
The students were excited too. Here's what they had to say:
Christopher Robison, 8th Grade: "We were able to use our networking skills to meet new people and learn about jobs that we might be interested in."
Kathy Rojo, 8th Grade: "I learned that if you want to be successful in life you have to have a good educational background because all the jobs that promise you a future require knowledge from college."
Jose Hernandez, 8th Grade: "I had fun because I got to talk to professional people. They gave me advice for high school and college."
17 students from Patrick Henry Middle School in Houston, Texas had the unique experience of learning the power of networking from Citizen Schools Texas Executive Director Todd Litton and his brother Charles Litton who is a wealth manager and UBS.
Professionals from many industries gathered at the Center for Houston's Future's downtown offices for a networking event on December 4. The event was planned in coordination with the Center for Houston's Future as a way for their forum graduates to get involved in the community. The volunteers helped show students that education makes dreams come true.
Catherine Mosbacher, President and CEO of Center for Houston’s Future said, "Not only were our Forum and LeadershipNEXT alums impressed by the students’ interviewing and networking skills, they were delighted to learn how to impact the educational trajectory of our future leaders through Citizen Schools."
3. North Carolina
This fall students from Neal Middle School and Lowe's Grove Middle School in Durham, North Carolina, explored career pathways in the 6 Degrees apprenticeship led by volunteers from Fidelity. On November 29 they got to meet professionals from their dream careers at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
During 6 Degrees of Durham, the students had the chance to network one-on-one with professionals from careers to which they aspire. The evening ended in an open- networking reception where the students got to experience the energy and excitement of being in a room full of successful adults.
6 Degrees is an exciting experience that uses the power of networking to help students connect with professionals and learn about potential careers. You can support the 6 Degrees and other exciting initiatives at Citizen Schools by donating here.