#GivingTuesday at CIS of Kalamazoo

Today is #GivingTuesday! A “global day of giving” fueled by the power of social media and collaboration, #GivingTuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Starting this year, here at CIS of Kalamazoo, we will be doing the “giving” on #GivingTuesday. Each CIS Site will have the opportunity to recognize a KPS staff member who has demonstrated a commitment to working with CIS to help students succeed and/or make sure students’ needs are met.

Throughout the day, we will be popping into each school to deliver special gifts for each selected recipient.

Check out who each site team selected and why!

Arcadia Elementary – Teacher and Instructional Lead Tony Spencer has worked with the CIS afterschool program for several years. This year, he has continued his commitment by helping After School Coordinator, Ms. Maria implement lessons to complement her program, all while making sure that the students are taken care of, and have a good time in the process.

He serves as teacher, mentor, and friend to all who have had the pleasure of working with him. His positivity is infectious, as is his booming laugh! A valued KPS employee and appreciated CIS partner, we appreciate him so much!

Edison Environmental Science Academy – Secretary Tonya Orbeck is always there when you need her. Her smile lights up the office. She is always helping everyone. Ms. Orbeck is a kind-hearted person who puts her needs after others. We think Tonya deserves to know she is appreciated.

El Sol Elementary – Teacher Jennifer Greenman goes above and beyond to ensure that basic needs are being met for every student in her classroom. She ensures this by closely communicating with CIS coordinators Mr. Soto and Ms. Viridiana and the services that CIS provides. From a pair of gloves, boots, or classroom supplies, to mental health services and after-school program enrollment, she works with CIS so the right students can receive the right service at the right time.

Hillside Middle School – Teacher Heather Sokolowski works tirelessly and consistently with the students supported by CIS. This year, Ms. Soko (as the students call her), has been instrumental in starting a pilot program for a “chill room” to implement mindfulness techniques with students.

Kalamazoo Central High School – Student Registrar/Secretary/Administrative Assistant Ebony Hemphill demonstrates a commitment to working with CIS to help students succeed by referring students and encouraging and loving students where they are at. Ms. Hemphill takes no prisoners when it comes to students showing respect.

King-Westwood Elementary – Daytime Custodian Sam has helped students by providing a clean atmosphere and assisting with necessary office supplies. He never complains and always obliges with moving supplies in and out of the school. We appreciate his diligent work to keep the school clean and organized. Thank you, Sam!

Lincoln Elementary – Behavior Support TaKarra Dunning is always willing to go the extra mile for students. Last year, Ms. Dunning went out and delivered food to our kids during the week off. She has provided many of her own snacks and treats for students.

Linden Grove Middle School – Campus Safety Ms. Foster knows every student in the building, what supports they need, and how to reach out to them. A fantastic resource, she has been an amazing help to our CIS staff!

Loy Norrix High School – Teacher Mr. Patrick Greeley is loving, caring, patient, a good listener and shows genuine interest in his students’ well-being and success. He connects with his students, making them feel valued and appreciated. He always has words of encouragement for both students and staff. Students love Mr. Greeley!

Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts – Teacher Mrs. Jacklyn Sowle continues to be a supporter of CIS at Maple Street. She ensures that her students receive the services that CIS offers. She works with CIS to make sure her students have glasses, adequate clothing such a winter coats, and recommends them for opportunities like the Community Feast. Mrs. Sowle, along with other staff members at Maple Street, are a pleasure to work with on a daily basis. We appreciate all that she does for the students at Maple and for her continued support of CIS.

Milwood Elementary – Paraprofessional Patrick Salamun has been working with students at high intensity levels. He works with students with intense behavior issues and always comes to work with a smile on his face. He is always thinking of others before himself, and loves his job. He is a great team member and is terrific with the kids. He deserves the extra appreciation.

Milwood Magnet Middle School – Principal (and chief ambassador) Mark Tobolski supports the CIS mission and autonomy within the Milwood Middle School. He is always willing to listen and support our ideas, along with promoting CIS wherever he goes.

Northeastern Elementary – Behavioral Specialist Judy Morin has helped connect with dozens of families and help identify student/family needs that CIS can provide. Ms. Morin consistently promotes CIS to the Northeastern community and continues to help expand capacity and validate our role with many families, students, and staff. She has also provided tools and support that help us work with students in a positive way based on the unique needs of our students and school. In short, Judy rocks!

Northglade Elementary – Deb McCullough in food service makes sure our kids are fed. Whether it is providing breakfast, lunch, after school program dinner, or making sure that we have snacks in the CIS office, we can always count on her to make sure our kids have a meal or snack.

Parkwood Upjohn Elementary – Behavior Specialist Sarah Collins provides consistency and a dependable support system to students requiring behavioral interventions. She is able to remain calm in her interactions with students and hold them to high expectations. She is also a source of support to many parents and caregivers and will seek out “what’s missing” in order to assist students.

Prairie Ridge Elementary – Home Support Specialist Amy Triemstra has patiently offered her time and valuable knowledge to help new CIS team members understand the student, family, and staff networks so that our team might better serve them. We value her expertise gained through experience and her endless willingness to share it.

Spring Valley Elementary – Teacher Chyna Campbell is always accommodating and flexible with scheduling students receiving CIS services. She is very supportive of the after-school program and provides homework as well as communicates student progress.

Washington Writers’ Academy – Food Service Supervisor Denise Doerschler has always been extremely flexible with making sure our students have food and allowing CIS staff to use the cafeteria for special events. She makes her freezer/refrigerator space available and helps to coordinate special snacks around events. She works tirelessly without complaint and we appreciate all she does for the staff and students at WWA. She is an unsung hero who deserves to be recognized for all she does.

Woods Lake Elementary – Lead Secretary Janice Garneau continues to put students at Woods Lake first! Always recommending our services to families that may need them and always putting others needs before her own, Janice communicates with all the staff at Woods Lake. She really takes the time to get to know her students and understand where they come from, and the obstacles they may face.

Woodward School for Technology and Research – Teacher Beth Polso is always ready to host volunteers, even surprise ones! She helps our CIS site coordinator seamlessly tailor each student’s needs to each volunteer’s talents. She is always looking for ways to deepen the work of Communities In Schools at Woodward with a smile.