News & Views

Recognizing Hearts of Change in the Community

November 29, 2017

Every year we celebrate diversity and service at the Cultural Thanksgiving celebration. This year we honored several community members and one organization for their outstanding work as a Heart of Change in our community.  These awardees, nominated by Rising STARS staff and participants, have invested in the lives of York County youth and have contributed to the success of the Rising STARS program. Check out this year’s winners below.

Jonathan AyersJonathan Ayers was born and raised in York, and has been in education for the past 9 years. He currently works as a case manager for the Crispus Attucks Charter School, where he says he has been blessed to assist students with special insight due to his own experiences as a troubled youth. In addition to his day job, Jon owns a local detail and automotive customizing shop. He is also pursing a degree in business management as a part-time HACC student. Jon is happily married and has 3 beautiful daughters and 2 lovely granddaughters. He feels very honored to stand before them to receive this award.

April CollierApril Collier is extremely active in the community. As the Community Outreach Coordinator for Pennsylvania’s Child Foster Care Agency, April plans events centered on preserving and enhancing the family. She partners with local organizations and businesses to provide safe spaces and training for youth referred to her from local schools or from District Judge Haskell. She also partners with Life Path Christian Ministries to provide free weekly community meals and culinary classes, and serves free breakfast and dinner at Union Lutheran.




Tino ConquestAs the President of Boys Club of York, a youth program for kids who live or attend school in the inner city, Tino Conquest is committed to turning today’s youth into tomorrow’s leaders. He believes positive mentorships are a necessity to help youth choose a positive path of growth and is heavily involved in the Mayor’s “My Brother’s Keeper Program.”  This program designs mentor groups and travels to different schools and programs to speak on and provide continued mentorship.





Sharee McFadden Receiving AwardSharee McFadden is a speaker, writer, social media personality, event coordinator and host, and mindset maven. Her core message to youth is that they have the power to create a life they love. She firmly believes in putting more joy into life, and frequently tells youth to “InJOYourLife.” Sharee has also worked with young women for the past 16 years, teaching them how to build their esteem and develop themselves as leaders and young women of purpose and passion, primarily through youth cheer and mentorship. She serves on several boards, including the YWCA Jr. Board. Sharee is the mother of 12-year-old Josiah and a Philadelphia native who has made her home in York.



Tanisha MoodyTanisha Moody, known as Coach Nish, was born and raised in York City. Throughout her youth, she participated in multiple dance, drill and cheerleading teams. This passion led her to coach the BYC Raiders’ Cheer and Competitive Cheer Program in 2010, and go on to start her own all-star competitive cheer program, Full Force All Stars, in 2011. Currently, Tanisha is an All-Star Cheer Coach / Technical Director of Spooky Nook’s All-Star Cheer Program, as well as the York High Varsity Head Cheer Coach. She hopes to continue her cheer coach journey and make it as affordable and expansive to allow the  youth to experience the Cheerleading Worlds Championship held in Disney, exposing them to national and international competitions. Tanisha is married to Shanoy Moody, a well-respected coach in the community and a  South York and York High Alumni football Player and Band Member. They both have 5 respectful, beautiful children who they adore.


Bryan Wade II, a native of York, originally pursued a career in the music industry, but found his true passion educating and counseling students. After attaining a Masters Degree in Liberal Studies and one in Education from North Carolina State University, Bryan went on to lead the New Hustle Counseling and Mentoring program for the York City School District. He later worked as a School Counselor in Baltimore  before transitioning back to York. Bryan currently serves as the Parent and Student Program Coordinator for Helen Thackston Charter School, where he has started the school’s first athletic program – and it’s recognized by the PIAA!

Bryan also serves as the organist, Men’s Ministry Leader and vacation bible school leader at Bible Tabernacle Christian Center. He is a member of the Black Ministers Association and assists in the education department. He has led prayer walks in the community and is a key member of Judah in the City of York and the York Community Outreach Alliance. He and his wife, Lateefah Wade, currently reside in Dover and have three beautiful sons: Nehemiah, Barak and Zion.


Johnson ControlsJohnson Controls is a global diversified technology and multi-industrial leader serving a wide range of customers in more than 150 countries. Their commitment to sustainability dates back to their roots in 1885, with the invention of the first electric room thermostat. Diversity is one of their core values, and they work to ensure a diverse, inclusive work environment for all employees. One way they create stronger connections is with Business Resource Groups (BRGs), mini-communities within the larger organization that focus on networking and community relations.

The Community Involvement Committee of the BRGs provides opportunities for volunteerisCultural Thanksgiving Rising STARS Awardm, enhances community and outreach initiatives, and helps their employees become leaders in the communities they serve. In the fall of 2016, the Women’s Resource Network and the African American BRG Community Involvement Committees partnered with  Crispus Attucks on a variety of initiatives to benefit youth, including: donations drives, the Mother-Daughter Tea, the Night of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and the Early Learning STEM program. They look forward to continued collaborations in helping CA fulfill its commitment to serving those in need and enhancing the quality of life for people of all backgrounds and walks of life in York.

Celebrating the Future with our Charter School Trimester Graduates

November 28, 2017

CACS Trimester Graduation Celebration

Forty chairs sat open and waiting in the quiet auditorium of the Crispus Attucks Charter School. Supportive friends and families were already seated and excitedly waiting for the trimester graduation ceremony to begin. As the students filed in, the room filled with soft chattering that eventually turned into a sea of friendly remarks and talks between peers. This is when I had the opportunity to meet a young woman by the name of Preijanae.

When asked why she chose to attend Crispus Attucks, she responded by saying that she had heard it was a good school from her sister who had previously attended the school herself. After coming here, Preijanae found her sister’s claims to be true. The small, close-knit community within the school, along with the great teachers, she says, created an environment in which she could ignore the drama while focusing on the school work.

Jasmine Morrero, one of the graduating students who had walked the stage, commented similarly saying that she had chosen to attend the school because she was drawn to the friendly and welcoming environment. Entering the school, she had felt an immediate sense of fitting in, which allowed her to focus on her academics without distraction. Being focused seemed to be a recurring theme as one of the other graduating students, Bryan Diaz, mentioned that the key to his graduation was focusing and working hard.

As these students walked the stage to receive their certificates (with the exception of Preijanae, as she is anticipated to graduate in June) they were cheered on by their fellow peers who, at the end of the day, are working to be in the same shoes as them. Although their time here at Crispus Attucks is nearing its end, we hope that our graduates continue to carry on all the lessons that they have learned with them as they move on to greener pastures.

Following graduation, Jasmine plans to attend Empire Beauty School for cosmetology, while Bryan plans to follow in his father’s footsteps by becoming a police officer. After her graduation in June, Preijanae plans to pursue a professional career in kinesiology with the intention of working in the field of athletics. As Mr. Newby—a new first-year teacher at Crispus Attucks—stated during the ceremony: “these students are hungry and eager,” and with the determination for success seen in this year’s graduating students, that type of statement can hardly be denied.

Wobbly Bot Workshop with Sam Brenner

October 30, 2017


During the evening of Friday, October 13th, Crispus Attucks held a workshop led by local teen and self-taught tech entrepreneur Sam Brenner. Brenner guided youth from CA’s Rising STARS and Early Learning Center through the process of building his own miniature robot toy that he calls a “Wobbly Bot.” The key parts include a toothbrush head, a few pieces of double-sided foam tape and a small motor to power the device and make it vibrate. The workshop not only provided the kids with a fun, educational activity, it also proved to be a great opportunity to tie in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) programming. Check out these photos from the evening!


Engaging Body & Mind With Clay at the Active Living Center

October 30, 2017

Our Active Living Center is more than just a place for senior citizens to spend their time. A major focus of ALC programming is keeping seniors active and healthy, just as its name suggests. So when our friends at Creative York approached us for a partnership focused on embracing aging, we jumped at the opportunity! Thanks to a grant they received from the York County Community Foundation, the seniors at our ALC have been engaging their hands and minds with clay art (and creating some real masterpieces) every second and fourth Tuesday of the month since early September.

The benefits of these ongoing workshops, taught by Creative York resident artist and teacher Stephanie, are twofold. First, using their hands to work the clay has been therapeutic for some of the senior participants who suffer from arthritis and other conditions. Caroline Smith (pictured right), for example, has been wearing a wrist brace to ease an injury. Although she felt some cramps in her hand during the first clay workshop, Smith hopes that working with clay on a regular basis will help her work through the issue and avoid physical therapy. Other seniors had to rest their hands every now and then on the first day of workshops but were optimistic about the long-term health benefits.

Plus, the clay workshops allow for plenty of creative expression among the seniors, a major factor in keeping their minds active and engaged. In the sessions, Stephanie gets them started on a general shape (e.g. a bowl, or, recently, a seasonally-appropriate pumpkin) and offers design suggestions and technical expertise, but the seniors are free to explore their own ideas with tools and glazes. Stephanie taught Ms. Smith how to mold and attach a clay fish (Smith is a Pisces!) and a “C” for her name to her bowl!

Once Stephanie has fired the pieces in a kiln, she returns them to their sculptors to keep and use. It is wonderful to watch our seniors get creative and each design unique pieces reflective of their personalities!



Cheering him on: Southside Steppers perform at charity fundraiser

October 27, 2017

The Southside Steppers and their coach Selena Dickson pose with Kyrie (blue shirt) and some friends. Look at those warm smiles!

On October 7, at Hoffer Park in Middletown, PA, Crispus Attucks’ girls step team, the Southside Steppers, had the honor of performing at a community fundraiser for Kyrie, a seven-year-old boy who recently had open heart surgery. Kyrie’s surgery was successful, and he experienced minimal complications, so this event served as a great opportunity to lift spirits and celebrate! Our step team, along with various other performers—the PA Dynasty Cheer Team, Tha’ Maniacz Youth Dance Group, and Middletown singer Charles Lee—were at the event helping to raise money for Kyrie’s medical expenses while also increasing awareness for children’s heart disease.

Catherine Peay, the fundraiser’s organizer, had heard of Crispus Attucks and the Southside Steppers through a friend, and the rest is history. According to Peay, our team “did a FANTASTIC job,” and they were a hit all around, especially with the guest of honor Kyrie!

Following his surgery and fundraiser, Kyrie is in good spirits and health and has been very

Kyrie with Ms. Selena, aka Ms. Frog.

active as he returns to life as a normal kid. “You would never know he had open heart surgery in March,” Peay said.

A Passion for Changing Lives

September 28, 2017

A new school year brought us some fresh faces. We’re grateful for our passionate volunteers and staff from around the community who are changing lives every day!

Jerry Tran joins us as our Social Media & Communications Intern in the Development Department. He’s a senior at York College majoring in professional writing and minoring in creative writing. A York native, he brings his experience in digital media, graphic design, and public relations to help the department promote all that CA does!






David Newby (left), Jarred Grimes (middle), and Michael Kitchen (right) all joined the Charter School staff and fit in perfectly with the CA culture!

Mr. Newby joins us as a science teacher, having made a complete career switch from the insurance industry. Mr. Newby was formerly with Kelly & Associates Insurance Group in Maryland.

As one of several Charter School case workers, Mr. Grimes manages the individual cases of a number of Charter School students. He comes from Gaudenzia, a rehabilitation center for mental health and substance abuse treatment, where he worked with young men to help them overcome their illnesses.

Mr. Kitchen is CA’s new In-School Suspension Monitor. He previously worked at Silver Oak Academy in Maryland as a life skills and health/P.E. teacher. He also worked as an independent living counselor, so he brings plenty of experience to his new position at CA!

Not All Heroes Wear Capes: Joel Miranda’s Charter School visit

September 28, 2017

This past August, 90 students filled the Crispus Attucks gym for Mental Toughness training. Preceding every new school year at the Crispus Attucks Charter School, students must participate in two weeks of these mental and physical exercises. Based off the YouthBuild model with which the school is affiliated and led by Aaron Beard, they’re designed to instill teamwork, discipline, and determination in students to prepare them for the coming year and, ultimately, life after graduation.

This year, students were visited by YouthBuild’s Senior Director for Leadership Development Joel Miranda. Like many of the Charter School students, he’s faced his fair share of adversity, and he worked hard to overcome it, partially in thanks to his involvement with YouthBuild.

“As I learned to love myself, I learned to love others,” Miranda said. A career at YouthBuild allowed him to improve himself, which in turn helped him impact and uplift others.

Miranda spoke to youth at CACS about what it means to be a real-life superhero: “All the young people I’ve met are superheroes. You are superheroes who haven’t found their powers yet. The world can make you live in fear and keep you from developing your superpower, but you must overcome this.”

Here are his tips for finding your superpower:

  • Costume: How do you show up?
    • Presentation in different settings matters.
  • Headquarters: How are you investing in yourself?
    • The goal should be how to become a better person.
  • Catch phrase: How are you communicating?
    • Be conscientious of the language you’re using in various situations.
  • Tools/Gadgets: What do you need and what is at your disposal?
  • League/Group: Who are you associating with?
    • Surround yourself with people who are good for your development & growth.
    • Miranda asked how many know friends or family who are in jail because of their friends. Many raised their hands.
  • Adversaries/Weaknesses: What’s getting in your way? And how do you get past it?
    • Need to be aware of these
    • Examples given by students: racism as an idea, a boyfriend/girlfriend, or even yourself if you lack willpower or are filled with self-doubt
  • Superpower: What do you have to offer this world?
    • What do you have inside you to help change the community?

Bridging The Gap: A Community Effort

September 27, 2017

At Crispus Attucks, we actively pursue stronger relationships between police and the community through various initiatives. Regular events like the Sheriff’s Program during the Rising STARS Afterschool Program brings in members from law enforcement to speak to youth to promote two-way dialogue and active discussion. At our Annual Meeting this past March, we recognized three local officers for their work in “bridging the gap” between police and the people they serve.
We vowed to work together to keep the conversation going to improve relationships. So, we were encouraged to see these efforts being made outside of CA, too, as evidenced by a recent encounter by one of our staff. Here’s the story:

Officer Cory Landis with neighborhood youth on a summer evening

A few weeks ago, Charter School staff member & long-time CA-er Val Foreman was riding her bike around her neighborhood when an inspiring sight caught her eye: she saw a group of youth gathered around a police car. The officer was showing them the lights on his car and handing out stickers, and the kids were loving it! The encounter was totally unplanned and by chance, and Val was heartened to see a positive police-community relationship blossoming before her eyes–she had to take some photos and do some more digging! Val found out the officer is Cory Landis with Springettsbury Township Police Department. It’s one thing to SAY we will work together with police…it’s another to SEE it happening right before your eyes!

Police vehicles are fascinating!

VIDEO: Our Summer Youth Employment Program was a Huge Success this Year!

September 27, 2017

This year, the Helping Youth Prepare for Employment program had over 170 youth participants working at various sites scattered across York County. They were paid for their hard work, and got great experience in work etiquette, individual duty and job responsibility. Although the program has been around for years, this year it was particularly successful!

Thank you to the United Way of York County for helping fund the program and its success.

New Faces, Same Passion: Help us welcome these new CA employees!

August 25, 2017

After spending a summer as a work site supervisor in the Summer Work Experience Program, Amy Doll (pictured left) joins CA officially in September as a career advisor in the Center for Employment & Training. Having recently graduated from York College with a sociology degree, Amy, a Hanover native, learned about CA when her college advisor sent her information about the summer position. She hasn’t looked back since! As a supervisor of youth working in the Salem Square neighborhood of York, Amy saw firsthand what CA is all about: people who care about their community and work to make it better. Her role as a career advisor will entail going to high schools around York County and working with youth to help them find employment. When asked what she enjoys most about working at CA, Amy replied, “Everything!”

Denise Wible (pictured right) joined CA in mid-July as the new administrative assistant at the Crispus Attucks Charter School. A Spring Grove resident with four sons all in their 20s, Denise comes to us after a long career in the healthcare industry, having specialized in elder care. Looking to change directions in life, Denise sought a new job where she felt like she could make a difference, and she says she feels like she’s doing just that at CA. Now that the school year has started up, Denise says she’s enjoying getting to interact with students more, even if that means things in the office are a little more hectic. She loves all the staff she’s met so far, so despite the crazy days, it’s all worth it to Denise.


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