Today we highlight Jiselle and Janelle Anderson, one of eight individuals and organizations honored at the annual Champ Celebration. CIS Board Member Tony McDonnell, along with Laura Keiser, CIS Site Coordinator at King Westwood Elementary School, presented the award.
Here are a few words that only begin to describe Jiselle and Janelle Anderson, our first ever mother-daughter duo to receive a Champ award: hard working, giving back, striving to help others, open, caring, friendly, leaders.
Let’s start with fourth grader Jiselle Anderson. Without a doubt, she has embraced the CIS mission, empowering herself to take full advantage of the community resources CIS offers at Lincoln International Studies School. For example, at the start of the school year, Jiselle recognized that she was struggling in math. “I needed to do something about it,” she said. So when her CIS Site Coordinator Shannon Fuller matched her up with retired math teacher and CIS volunteer Mr. Stephen Ohs, Jiselle embraced this support and readily gave up one day of recess each week to focus on improving her math skills.
“These days,” points out Shannon, “it takes a small army to raise a strong and healthy child…and Mr. Ohs is almost a small army in and of himself. Jiselle has taken advantage of his one-on-one tutoring support. She’s improved in math and feels more confident.”
Jiselle says, “I don’t count on my fingers anymore thanks to Mr. Ohs. He taught me some neat math tricks.” She is applying her new found success to reach out and help others. “I noticed one of my classmates struggling in math, just like I was,” she said, “I just helped them, the way Mr. Ohs helped me.”
Jiselle’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Says her teacher, Mrs. Leah Beltran, “Jiselle takes responsibility for her actions. She exhibits terrific leadership skills and sets a wonderful example for the whole class. I truly enjoy having her in my class.” Math and Science Teacher Kendra Kasinger has similar observations. “Jiselle is a very hard working, dedicated student. She is a leader and likes to help others.”
This young leader is flourishing with an army of support: her mother, grandmother,KPS teachers and staff, CIS site team, volunteers like Mr. Ohs, and partners like Girls on the Run.
Her mother Janelle is a Champ in her own right. Mother, as many of you know, is a verb. An action verb. It’s not just who you are but more about what you do. When Jiselle researched Harriet Tubman, Janelle fully supported her daughter’s efforts and was at her side when Janelle shared Harriet Tubman’s biography live on the radio for Black History month. Janelle is there for her daughter, advocating, working closely with both CIS and KPS to assure her daughter has what she needs to be successful. A role model for her daughter, Janelle also makes it her mission to be there for other children as well. For the past three years, Janelle has used her organizational skills to help CIS support important partnerships like Girls on the Run. This year, she is volunteering as a Girls on the Run coach. In addition, Janelle volunteers in Mrs. Hannah and Mrs. LaPonsie’s third grade classrooms to support students in reading. We are especially grateful as Janelle recently took it upon herself to recruit another great CIS volunteer…her own mother, Sharon Wysinga. Sharon is now volunteering in Ms. Howe’s class, assisting students with reading.
“Giving back to the community runs in this family,” says CIS after school coordinatorBonnie Terrentine. “We now have three generations of strong, beautiful women—Jiselle, Janelle, and Sharon—making a difference for students through CIS at Lincoln Elementary.”
Jiselle and Janelle Anderson, we thank you for helping kids stay in school and achieve in life.