When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How did you know that you could be a lawyer, a teacher, or even an astronaut? Who were the adults who encouraged you to aim high? For thirty students at the Ivy Hill Elementary School in Newark, NJ, those role models are their one-on-one mentors at Prudential Financial.
Since 2008, Prudential and Citizen Schools have partnered on the Prudential Citizen Schools Success Academy, an innovative program designed to affect the life trajectories of students in the Newark community by pairing them with caring adult volunteers from Prudential. Students work one-on-one with their coaches (supported by a Citizen Schools Team Leader) once a week to complete homework, build academic skills, and reinforce the development and use of 21st Century Skills that will lead to future college and career success.
Shané Harris, Program Officer at the Prudential Foundation, said of the collaboration, “Prudential has a long history of community engagement in Newark and our partnership with Citizen Schools represents an opportunity to directly engage our employee volunteers with Newark students in a meaningful and measureable manner."
The goal of the program is to work with students to increase the completion of quality homework, improve their academic engagement and interest in school, and work towards grade gains through a positive coaching relationship with an adult. After the first full year, 73 percent of students realized grade improvements in math and 60 percent realized gains in English.
In addition to the one-on-one mentoring, Prudential volunteers have served as Citizen Teachers in Newark, leading apprenticeships on philanthropy and researching and reducing one's carbon footprint. From their significant volunteer investment to their financial support of Citizen Schools New Jersey, Prudential have demonstrated their deep commitment to the current and future success of out students. WOW indeed!