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Linda Mah
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Volunteer Champs Help KPS Kids

Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo Honored Volunteers in Spring

Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo honored community members who have helped make a difference in the lives of Kalamazoo Public Schools students at the 10th annual Champs celebration this spring.

Communities In Schools provides activities and support for more than 11,000 students throughout 20 Kalamazoo Public Schools.

Von Washington Jr., executive director of community relations with the Kalamazoo Promise, emceed. “You are all champions for children,” he said.

Writers, educators and performers Von and Fran Washington were given the Diether Haenicke Promise of Excellence Award, which was named after the late Western Michigan University President Diether Haenicke. As educators, creators, and professional performers, they use their company, Washington Productions, to encourage dialogue about race, culture, and identity.

Milwood Magnet School evening custodians Mike Free, Ike Thurman, and Chalene Watson were recognized for ensuring the school is a safe and welcoming environment for the students who stay after school for CIS activities.

The Kalamazoo College men’s baseball team received the CIS Higher Learning Partner Award for serving as tutors, playground friends, and in-class supports at Edison Environmental Science Academy.

Prevention Works was recognized for giving students “a healthy start and a healthy future,” which fulfills one of the mission points of CIS. The program addresses issues such as substance abuse, sexual health, parenting and decision making.

Pfizer Global Supply workers were thanked for supporting students and providing career exploration through hands-on activities that introduce science, technology, engineering, and math concepts.

Susan Knox has volunteered at Kalamazoo Central for seven years. Her volunteering has included one-on-one interactions, small group tutoring, and after-school supports. She was recognized for creating a “community of hope.”

The Rotary Club of Kalamazoo was honored for supporting KPS students through a number of initiatives, including mentoring, adopting CIS families for the holidays, and visiting classrooms for Rotary Is For Reading each spring.

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