Giving 100% with a Cisco Volunteer

Cisco Citizen Teacher Reggy Lewis sits with his Future of Food apprentices. Reggy Liger tries to live by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s advice to be successful, which includes kindness to children, and leaving lasting improvement on the world around him. He works towards both as a Cisco employee and as a volunteer Citizen Teacher in Durham, North Carolina. Reggy is living with a mission to give back.

A deeply humble person, Reggy tells us he doesn’t view volunteering as something for which he should receive credit. “I always tell people, especially when it comes to volunteering, this is not something I want credit for,” says  Reggy. “I don’t think that’s altruism. Whenever it comes to giving back, I try to be altruistic in what I do. I give back because it’s the right thing to do.”

We celebrate Reggy as our April Citizen Teacher of the Month for his inspiring work at Neal Middle School.

Meet Reggy...

Why do you volunteer as a Citizen Teacher?

It goes back to family. I always want to better those that come behind me. Everything starts when you’re a child, your values and beliefs. It’s very important that we give students aspirations and role models to live up to and aspire to. I love volunteering. As a human, it is our responsibility to give back. It’s the only way we are going to progress as a species.

What apprenticeships have you taught?

Reggy stands with the other Citizen Teachers of the Future of Food apprenticeship.

I taught the Future of Food apprenticeship. That was my first experience with Citizen Schools. This semester I am doing my own curriculum, The Science of Broadway. It is a project-based exploration of theatre-making. We will work on playwriting, choreography, design, and technical theater. The 21st-century skill we’re focusing on is collaboration and I wanted them to work not just on acting but the technical aspect.

What is your favorite WOW! moment?

I have a very outgoing personality. Because of my personality, I gravitate towards the quiet students and try to bring them out of their shells. It can be especially difficult for young women with the propaganda and expectations that exist as a female.

Reggy’s favorite WOW! moment involves student Jamiya during his first apprenticeship, The Future of Food. You can see the class website here.

We came into the 4th week activity where we were drawing... I drew a couple birds on her picture and that was the first time I saw her smile. Later, she walks up to me and pokes me on the shoulder. She said, “This is for you, Mr. Liger” and gave me her picture. That was when I knew I was impacting students’ lives. I actually keep the photo on my desk as a reminder.

A teacher shows a young student how to play the drum.

What is your favorite way to connect with students?

On a level they understand. I have three younger siblings. I learned how to speak to young children and learned how to make them smile. It’s that moment where they realize they are able to do more than they thought they were capable of.

After every lesson, I have the students stand on their chairs and repeat back to me, “I am special. I am unique. I can do anything. I can be anything.” It starts to stick with them.

Once they go out of their comfort zones, that’s when beautiful things happen.

What advice do you have for Citizen Teachers?

The best advice I can give them is give it 100% of what you have. It is difficult to do that as a professional with outside responsibilities. But children can smell when you’re not in it. Pump your passion, your joy into that experience and make that experience one of a kind.

To change lives, you have to change yourself. Give it 100%.

Reggy would like to thank the following people for his great experiences at Citizen Schools:

Future of Food

Carissa Lada

Dan Pisciottano

Lion King Experience

Michael Blunt

Katie Bratton

Joseph Yu

Kimberly Hull

Somer Hall

Citizen Schools

April Warren

Marlee Henderson

Mykia Richards

Tosh Seriguchi

Jin Ellington