Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, volunteers and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature CIS volunteers Isaiah and Dedrenna Hoskins, the mother and son team supporting students at Washington Writers’ Academy. Since 2010, they’ve been distributing Friday Food Packs which are made possible thanks to our partnership with Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes. At Washington Writers’, these packs are provided thanks to Bethany Reformed Church. Each pack that the Hoskins deliver, holds enough food to cover breakfast and lunch for a child during the weekend hours when other food options may be scarce.
When the school year ended this past June, this mother and son team kept at it, volunteering to distribute much needed food packs over the six weeks of CIS Think Summer! at Arcadia Elementary School.
Stacy Jackson, CIS After School Coordinator at Edison Environmental Science Academy, along with colleague, Tamiko Garrett, CIS Site Coordinator of Linden Grove, oversaw the elementary CIS Think Summer! program. “They are reliable and really get the job done,” says Tamiko. “They make sure the packs get to where they need to be.”
“Yes,” adds Stacy, “They helped make this summer extra smooth. These two breathe life and hope into the kids every time they step into the school.”
Oh, and if you are wondering, the answer is yes. These Hoskins are related to the Dalanna Hoskins, CIS Site Coordinator at Milwood Elementary School. These two fabulous volunteers, Dedrenna and Isaiah, are her mother and brother.
We caught up with Isaiah and Dedrenna this summer, out at Arcadia Elementary. They were preparing the cart with food packs but took a short break to answer our questions. Although Isaiah is mostly nonverbal, he listened carefully to the questions. While he was patient with us, and often smiled, when it was over, he immediately jumped back into action. He knew he had a job to do and that the kids were counting on him!
Alright, you two: pencil out, eyes on your own paper. Good luck.
What are you currently reading?
Pigs in the Parlor by Frank Hammond and Ida Mae Hammond. And Isaiah likes the Berenstain Bears books and Dr. Seuss.
What are your favorite words right now?
Roots and responsibility. Yes is one of Isaiah’s favorite words.
“Yes, yes!” pipes up Isaiah.
What is something you love about Kalamazoo?
The diversity. The openness of the place.
What has most surprised you since you began volunteering with CIS in the schools?
Just how much of a great need there is…our kids need us and I’m glad Isaiah and I can help.
It’s clear you and your family values volunteering. Why do you choose to give back through CIS?
It is just who we are. We give, and not necessarily in expectation of getting something back. But, you know, you always get something back when you volunteer.
Behind every successful person is a caring adult. Who has been your caring adult?
My parents. They’ve been my foundation, a strong foundation, and wide spreading. That gets us back to my favorite words: roots and responsibility.
As Dedrenna said, “Our kids need us.” If you would like to be in the schools, helping students, volunteer with CIS today. Go here.
You can learn more about Dedrenna and Isaiah and what it means for them to be giving back in the schools to kids in this year’s CIS Annual Report.