What CIS Volunteers are Reading in 2021

While March may be recognized as National Reading Month, it’s always reading month for Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo volunteers. Here’s what some of them are reading …

[Note: Like our last post in which CIS staff shared what they are reading, book titles link to the Indie Bookstore Finder. Should a book peek your interest, this allows you to learn more and easily obain the book from one of our fabulous independent bookstores.]

 

I am reading (recently finished):  Tecumseh and the Prophet, The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens. Why this book?  I grew up near Battleground, Indiana, and as a youth on multiple occasions visited the Battleground memorial, which honored Willian Henry Harrison, as well as ‘Prophet’s Rock’ which was reputed to be the site of a rousing speech by Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) to his followers. Having learned the ‘traditional’ history, I was interested to read about the perspective of the Shawnee brothers. It was illuminating to say the least! The Shawnee and other tribes were pawns, allied and abandoned on multiple occasions, in the efforts by Great Britain and the nascent United States to dominate North America. Spoiler Alert:  It did not end well for the brothers and their followers.

Paul Runnels

 

I’ve been busy reading a lot of interesting books: Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson, Walk in My Combat Boots by James Patterson, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. All very different and eye-opening in different ways!

Susan Einspahr

 

I just finished (for the second time) Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. It is a fascinating account of our history when the Osage Indians were systematically killed by whites in their Oklahoma town, circa 1921-? Highly recommended.

Karen Tinklenberg

 

Book I just finished: Skin In The Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Book I am reading: 7 Men And The Secrets Of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas.

 Chris Werme

 

I’m reading The Giver of Stars, a novel by JoJo Moyes. Set in Depression-era America, it’s based on a true story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky. A team of women delivering books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. They’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Also reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, a novel by Gail Honeyman … the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart.

Holly Wohlfert

 

I just finished reading My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem – and I highly recommend it.

Ineke Way

 

I recently read The Vagabond: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip by Jeff Guinn. It was informative of the culture and politics of the time.

Marti Terpsma

 

In the new year…

I highly recommend ALL of them!

Martha Beverly

 

Transient Desires by Donna Leon — An Inspector Brunetti mystery set in Venice (a series)
The Women of the Copper Country by Dorian Russell
The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch (a series)
A Brave Day for Harold Brown by Mishana Shot
The Soul of America by Jon Meacham
To name a few…

Jim Cupper

 

I am currently reading The Gown by Jennifer Robson. Enjoyable so far. Relating to the wedding gown worn by Princess Elizabeth when she married Prince Phillip. Women and their friendships and their backgrounds as they relate to the past history and current times in their lives.

 Nancy Laugeman

 

We’re reading A Promised Land by former President Barack Obama.

Nanette and Jack Keiser 

 

Midnight Library by Matt Haig and This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon. Also,  Darby’s (dog) Mom by Anita Lawson. I am currently reading The Innocent Classroom by Alexs Pate.

Deborah Yarbrough

11 Questions for Cash the Dog

Welcome back to the POP QUIZ! This is a regular, yet totally unexpected, feature where we ask students, parents, staff, our friends, and partners to answer a few questions about what they are learning, reading, and thinking about. Today we feature Cash, a Bernese Mountain Dog who volunteers with the Science Club at Edison Environmental Science Academy along with Teresa Miller. [We featured Teresa in an earlier post here.  And if you missed the post on the Science Club’s 2020 Champ award, you can find it here.]

Part of the volunteer team who makes Science Club so successful, Cash is well-behaved and humble. So while he didn’t bring it up, Teresa shared that he also has a drafting title. As she explained it, Bernese Mountain Dogs are originally from Switzerland. Historically, they pulled carts of milk from farms to the town. And because Cash has actually pulled a cart, he boasts a drafting (carting) title.

In the spring of last school year, we popped this quiz on Cash in Edison’s library as he was getting ready for students to come in for Science Club. Teresa was there to help with translating. Cash has been very patient in waiting for his interview to be published. Good boy!

Alright, Cash: pencil out, paws on your own paper. Good luck.

Pop Quiz

We don’t normally ask this of our volunteers, but what is your age?

I’m 8 ½ in dog years and 58 in people years.

What year did you start volunteering with the Science Club?

2012. I was a teenager.

Cash with some of the other volunteers he works with during Science Club. (Photo taken last school year.)

In one sentence, how would you describe your volunteer work?

Pet me, pet me, pet me!

What do you love best about volunteering?

Did I say, Pet me?

What type of training did you need to do to prepare for your volunteer position?

I had to pass two tests: Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and Therapy Dog.

Would you recommend volunteering to other dogs?

Yes, the kids are the best kind of friends to have. I love kids! I also volunteer at the Bronson Children’s Hospital two times a month.

What’s your favorite word right now?

Cookies.

What do you do in your leisure time?

Mostly spend time with my mom. She does lots of fun stuff. We like to go camping, swimming, dock-diving, and lots of walks.

Cash with his mom, Teresa Miller.

Are you more a wagger or a barker?

Definitely a wager. I only bark to alert my mom of strangers, or if she asks me too.

Favorite rap artist: Snoop Dogg or Bow Wow?

Snoop, for sure.

Anything else we should know about you?

I like to brag about my kids. I have over thirty and they are all very good looking and smart. One lives with me. His name is Cruz. He just turned three.

Thank you, Cash, for hanging out with us at Ask Me About My 12,000 Kids.

 

 

Diane Fuller: Lifting up Kids and Teachers

At the 11th Annual Champs Celebration, presented by Kalsec, Diane Fuller was honored with a 2018 Champ Award which was sponsored by BASIC. CIS Board President Tony McDonnell presented the award.

Diane standing with CIS Board President Tony McDonnell (left) and Chris Stys, Vice President of Human Resources for BASIC (right).

It was Stacy Jackson’s second day on the job as CIS after school coordinator, when Diane Fuller welcomed her to Edison Environmental Science Academy and introduced herself. “I come every Wednesday at 4:45 for homework help,” Diane cheerfully said.

Six years later and kids in the CIS after school program still can’t wait to seek out Diane for tutoring help. “This CIS volunteer is in high demand, says Stacy, “and that’s because she’s flexible, consistent, and understands the needs of our kids.”

It’s these very qualities that, three years ago, led CIS to seek Diane’s thoughts on modifying Miller-Davis Company’s Secret Santa program. Diane works at Miller-Davis as bookkeeper, and also coordinated the program. Would Miller-Davis employees, instead of providing gifts to 20 to 25 students each year, consider gifting to each teacher in the building? As Stacy puts it, “Gift one teacher and you impact 30 kids.”

Diane immediately saw the benefit to shifting to this “adopt a teacher model” and worked closely with CIS to map out a plan. Diane then presented it to her colleagues and they got right on board. So, Diane the homework helper, who recognizes and responds to students’ academic needs, also started listening and writing down teachers’ wishes—who, after all, knows better than teachers what teachers need to create learning environments most responsive to student needs?

Each year, Diane is making the list and checking it twice, trying to find out if it’s Mrs. Powell who wishes for the magazine subscription, Mrs. Smith who would love arts and crafts supplies and a gift card, and that it’s Mrs. Zarei King who could really use some flashcards or a set of books.

While students couldn’t begin to shower these gifts upon their teachers, they are a part of the experience. It is a wonderful gift to give a child: letting them see their teacher who cares for them, being cared for, too.

In her quiet yet mighty way, Diane is making a big impact at Edison, and helping her colleagues do the same.

Diane Fuller, we thank you for helping kids stay in school and achieve in life.

Come fall, our kids will need many more volunteers like Diane. Go here to consider one of the several ways you can become a volunteer today to help the kids of tomorrow.