Citizen Schools’ first apprenticeship, in journalism, was led by two young men with a dream to change education. But those young men, our co-founders Eric Schwarz and Ned Rimer, needed more than a dream to make their vision a reality; they also needed people and companies willing to invest money, time and thought partnership in their idea to bring citizens into classrooms as a “second shift” of educators. And Bank of America was right there, ready to invest their resources – and faith – in us.
Since those early days, the partnership between Bank of America and Citizen Schools has grown and evolved. More than 100 Bank employees have taught apprenticeships to middle school students across the country, on topics from investing to saving for college to branding. One brave Bank of America volunteer even taught Celtic dancing!
Just this past fall in Charlotte, North Carolina (where Bank of America was a founding partner) 17 Bank employees led an impressive four apprenticeships at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School. We wanted to know what makes Bank of America employees some of our most dedicated volunteers, so we asked them what the Citizen Teacher experience meant to them. Here’s what they had to say:
“Our students were the stars of the show and made our Citizen Schools experience more fulfilling than we could have ever imagined. They were simultaneously engaged and engaging, unafraid to ask questions and respectfully contribute their experiences at every turn. It became quickly apparent that we were being held to a high standard which made us want to give 110%. You know you’re having a fun and positive experience when you’re looking forward to the next class even before your current one has ended.”
- Jason Last, AVP Business Designer, College Prep Apprenticeship
“It showed me the real impact that both students and professionals get from the apprenticeship experience. From a professional standpoint, teaching together helped us build a very strong team. We all leveraged each other to make sure that each lesson was as effective as it could be, and had great brainstorming sessions. And for the students, having such a diverse group of teachers made the lessons very accessible. We saw how much they appreciated our time and commitment. That was very powerful.”
- Nanelle Napp, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Brand You Apprenticeship
“We did a lesson about working through our strengths and weaknesses. At the end of the day when we asked the students what they had learned, one girl raised her hand and said, ‘I learned that if I put my mind to it, I can do anything.’ It was incredible that she got that take-away and that she believed that. For me that was the number one example of seeing these kids transform and become more like adults. We all had goose bumps.”
- Andrew Blaser, AVP of Business Controls and Monitoring, Brand You Apprenticeship
We've seen the impact that Citizen Schools – with the support of partners like Bank of America - has on children, the community and the country. Without our early and consistent partners, Citizen Schools might still be just a budding idea. Thanks to all of the companies and volunteers who make this work – and our students’ transformation – possible!