September 26, 2013 – Houston, TX - Middle school students in four Houston Independent School District schools will get a boost after the sold-out second annual Citizen Schools Texas Luncheon. The benefit celebrated the partnerships that make it possible for Citizen Schools to provide a longer learning day and engaging connections with about 100 volunteer professionals and 570 students this year.
Held on September 25th at The Junior League of Houston, the event raised over $116,000 for Citizens Schools, a national non-profit organization that partners with middle schools to expand the school day and bring more relevant learning experiences for children in low-income communities.
Imagine a place that makes up for the space in time, for which opportunity gets lost in. Imagine that place bringing the glass to full, in a glass that is only half full. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to play a part in creating that place, or at least nurturing the growth of that place; so that the idea of “no child left behind” could really manifest and come to fruition?
These are just a few things I imagined today as I reminisced on the end of every word spoken at today’s Citizen Schools 2nd Annual Luncheon. As I learned more about the school and the programs offered, a sentimental reflection of a similar program came to mind; that I participated in as a child and a young adult.
Luncheon Chairs Carrie Miller and Julie Price, Citizens School Executive Director Todd Litton, and Board Chair Nicole Purdue welcomed over 250 guests to celebrate the outstanding work of Citizen Schools Texas. The combination of expanded learning time, personalized academic support, innovative apprenticeships, and important community explorations, is changing the outlook of middle school students across Houston.
Todd Litton, spoke about the importance of exposing children to experiences that connect their academics to future opportunities. Alumna Celestina Melendez gave a touching account of the difference Citizen Schools made to her life and to her future.
“Citizen Schools was founded on a simple idea: we believe that if we really show kids the connection between their education and their future college and career opportunities, then they’ll be inspired to learn, work hard and do better in school, persevere and graduate from high school, and successfully pursue college and careers,” said Todd Litton.
Paying it forward is virtually giving back. It is a momentous occasion when you see things come full circle in the realm of giving back to something that has given you so much. When I think of programs I was involved in that provided exposure for me to have access to resources and tools that molded my life; I am proud to know that similar programs continue to be successful in recycling the idea, making it better and most of all, keeping it alive.
It is nice to see that these like-minded programs still exist and that efforts to reach those who need the opportunity, has not become extinct. Sometimes our potential is packed inside a community that has one road in and no road out. With that, our children are standing behind locked gates trying to find the key, a crack, a window of opportunity to get to something within their reach but not at their fingertips.
Partnering with HISD, Citizen Schools Texas brings an unprecedented approach to educating middle school students by reaching them at the most critical juncture in their academic careers. Citizen Schools’ vision is to close the achievement and opportunity gaps so that all Houston students will graduate from high school ready for success in college and beyond.
About Citizen Schools: Citizen Schools Texas launched in 2002 and currently serves 570 students and engages over 100 volunteers. To learn more about Citizen Schools Texas, visit www.citizenschools.org/texas/.
Special Thanks to: Holly Trippett, Public Relations Specialist and Alan Bordelon
Director of External Engagement, Citizen Schools