3rd Annual Benefit was a Smash Hit!

Thank you to our amazing students, staff, volunteers, supporters, and friends who joined us last night at our 3rd annual benefit. We thought it was the most fun gala we’ve had yet and the barrage of enthusiastic post-event emails and phone calls says you agree! We’re so moved that everyone came out in droves to celebrate our students, our success, and the future potential of Citizen Schools in New York and across the country. Take a moment to watch the short video that premiered last night to an audience of over 500 of our New York friends and supporters.


Our WOW! stations rocked the house. Kids battled with their Sumo Robots, raced their solar cars, quizzed guests on the best sports franchise investment, and showed off their professional commercials. Students felt so proud of their work and guests were awed by what 6th graders could teach them about business, computer programming, physics, and marketing. 

If you want to see more of our apprenticeships in action this month, be sure to register for one of our 30+ WOW! events taking place this month across the city! Register here. 

Jason Ponce (East Harlem 7th grader) and MacCalvin Romain (alumnus) stole the show with their incredible success stories. We’re so proud of Jason for his success in school and his flawless presentation in front of an incredibly enthusiastic live audience last night. We believe that all students can become rock stars like Jason and MacCalvin with the right access and support, so we’re excited to serve 1,000 NYC students next year who have the same potential. Watch Jason’s speech below.


Chancellor Dennis Walcott made us nostalgic for our early days operating in NYC, four short years ago, when he was keynote speaker at our inaugural WOW! at Google’s headquarters. We’ve come so far since then and the Chancellor bore witness to that progress last night when he noted that the Citizen Schools model is in synch with the City’s vision for middle school progress and a key approach to leveling the playing field for kids in low-income communities and public schools.

We were deeply moved to see how many Citizen Teacher volunteers came out last night. You could pinpoint them in the crowd because they just couldn’t stop smiling all night. We can’t do this work without the amazing human capital our volunteers contribute – Citizen Teachers, we salute you!

To the many guests who made on-the-spot pledges last night, thank you for your generosity and your funny and compassionate messages to boot.

Heartfelt thanks to everyone who came out last night to cheer us on and to those of you who were there in spirit. As we look forward to another incredible year of challenge, growth, and success…

We leave you with one question:

What will you do to turn your inspiration to action?