When school started this year in five high-need Dallas schools, students found a new type of support.
From the moment they walk in the school door, to when the last student leaves the afterschool program, City Year AmeriCorps members work with Dallas students to ensure they are on track to success in school and in life.
With lead support from The Celanese Foundation, City Year opened its 26th site in Dallas where 49 full-time AmeriCorps members offer individualized instruction to students who need extra support due to low attendance, course failure in math and English or poor behavior. City Year AmeriCorps members partner with schools to provide tutoring to these students in academics, behavioral and attendance supports– all while promoting a positive culture throughout the school. The Dallas team is part of the largest group of City Year AmeriCorps members ever – nearly 3,000 strong – serving in 292 schools across the country.
When Mark Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer of Celanese, heard that City Year was making an exploratory visit to Dallas nearly two years ago, he offered the leadership to make this vision a reality. Rohr’s experience with City Year started 500 miles away in post-Katrina Baton Rouge. “I saw the power of City Year as it tackled daunting challenges in Louisiana,” said Rohr. “It was City Year that made it possible for many students to get back to school and get on track to graduation, ready for success in college and beyond.”
When he later moved to Dallas to be the CEO of Celanese, he was committed to replicating the success he saw in Baton Rouge. That was the beginning of City Year Dallas.
And for that, Alex Enriquez is grateful. Alex was raised in Dallas, went to public schools, and is now the founding Executive Director of City Year Dallas. “When I graduated from college, I had to travel to another city to serve with City Year. With Mark Rohr’s leadership and the engagement of Celanese employees, we now have the opportunity to call on the young leaders of Dallas to help strengthen our schools and prepare our students to be successful in their education and lives,” said Enriquez.
“It's a privilege to help bring City Year to this city,” said Rohr. “Together with the community, we are working to dramatically increase high school graduation rates, boost school spirit, and promote strong, healthier learning environments.”
The Celanese Employees Lead Community Change Globally, and in Dallas
Rohr’s spirit of community extends to the Celanese workforce. His “power to the people” leadership style is apparent in the way he started The Celanese Foundation, and is articulated in its mission statement:
“The Celanese Foundation is an employee-led effort dedicated to improving the quality of life for people around the world. Celanese Foundation focuses on initiatives to improve the fundamental living conditions of people, with a special focus on families and children.”
The Celanese Foundation was created with the hope that it would be a positive force and honorably reflect employees’ passion and purpose. Employees guide the foundation’s decision-making process and are involved in all aspects of its community support.
“We’ve been blessed with having a lot provided for us in our lives,” said Celanese employee Randy Wilson, who is based in Dallas. “By giving some of that back through community service, we are working to change the world for the better.”
One example is City Year’s Team Sponsor Program. The Foundation provides financial support for the City Year team serving at Franklin D. Roosevelt High School and Celanese employees directly invest their time and talents into supporting the school. As part of the Celanese volunteer spirit, Randy and other Celanese employees joined with their City Year team to create a more welcoming environment for students. Over 200 employees helped to create vibrant murals throughout the school, an outdoor classroom, and a garden.
“This type of employee support shows students that people care about them,” said Celanese employee Veronica Aguilar. “We want students to feel more welcome and secure at school. In turn, they will care more about themselves and others.”
“Celanese employees have a great sense of volunteerism and community support, and I am proud of their commitment to our company,” said Rohr. Last year, 3,588 Celanese employees spent 17,556 hours assisting a variety of organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and United Way, and September 2015 marked the Celanese Foundation’s Fifth Annual Global Impact Month.
“It’s a good feeling knowing that I worked on something that can help high school students learn and be motivated in a different way,” said Cory Allen, who also works at Celanese. “It is an investment in our community and the people who live in it.”