A Dynamic Duo

_DSC0793Today we highlight the work of Joyce and Doyle Crow. These CIS volunteers were honored this past spring at the sixth annual Champ Celebration.  (This is the seventh installment of a nine part series.)

Joyce and Doyle Crow: a dynamic duo if there ever was one. For the past six years, CIS Site Coordinator Jody Sikkema has been turning to them to help tutor children in both math and reading at Parkwood Upjohn Elementary School. Trust, she points out, is vital to empowering children to open up and change. The Crow’s establish trust early on by showing up on time each week, committing to working with the same children year after year. When one of Doyle’s student recently changed schools Doyle followed the child to Arcadia Elementary where he continues to support the student and was convinced by Arcadia’s CIS Site Coordinator, Gulnar Husain, to pick up an additional child in need.

The Crows unleash their powers upon children, showering them with abundant kindness, caring, patience, and love. Under their tutelage, children who are struggling academically, behaviorally, or emotionally, blossom.

When Jody recently called a parent to find out how she felt the tutoring with Mr. Crow was going for her son, the mother was stunned by the changes she was seeing in her child. Once disengaged with learning, her son was opening up at home, his attitude towards school improving along with his academics. “He can’t stop talking about Mr. Crow,” she said. Her son, realizing whom his mother was talking about, shouted out, “He’s amazing!”

_DSC0544Last year, one of Joyce’s students suggested that Joyce change her tutoring schedule so that she could come earlier in the week. This would give the student a chance to practice the skills she was learning from Mrs. Crow throughout the week. Joyce didn’t hesitate to rearrange her schedule. And when summer arrived and the student worried that she would lose the gains made, Joyce arranged to tutor her throughout the summer. This past fall, this young lady received her first ever ‘A’ in math.

Between them both, they have helped more than a dozen kids. Kids are smart. They know that Joyce and Doyle Crow, caring and committed adults are part of the secret to their growing success.

Joyce and Doyle Crow, we thank you for helping students stay in school and achieve in life.

Broncos Brake For Volunteers

Carly kicks off focus group as WMU students look on
Carly kicks off focus group as WMU students look on

Apparently, seven of our CIS volunteers didn’t get the memo that it was spring break! This past Saturday, seven of them showed up to our downtown office bright and early to be part of a focus group to provide their perspective on how CIS can best recruit and support volunteers. Carly Wiggins, Director of Volunteers Services moderated the session, asking questions that had been prepared by Western Michigan University students TJ Hogan, Denise Negren, Brenna Schafer, Gabrielle Hanson, and team leader, Rachel Duelo. The college students provided coffee and donuts for the volunteers and listened in on the discussion.

Rachel’s group is one of three teams of students who are part of Diana Berkshire Hearit’s Public Relations Capstone Class. Each is developing a marketing campaign that they will present later this month to CIS. We’ve asked them to focus their efforts on helping us deepen community awareness and support for Kids’ Closet/basic needs as well as volunteers.

This is the second time that CIS has partnered up with Diana Berkshire Hearit to serve as a “client” for her students. And just like two years ago, we are appreciative of the ground work Diana does in advance of our initial meeting with the entire class. As graduates of WMU, Carly and I are particularly proud of the way these young men and women have conducted themselves and the insightful questions they have asked of us throughout this process.

Rana Shammas, Steve Stapleton, Mary Lewis, Shirley Freeman, Doyle Crow, Jager Hartman, and Rosalie Novara, we are so grateful for the volunteer work you are doing with our kids throughout the Kalamazoo Public Schools. Thank you for choosing to spend some of your Saturday morning with us. We will infuse what we learned from you into our work. We (not to mention some of our 12,000 kids) are already better for having you in our lives.