A “Second Mom” for Charter School Students

Denise Wible, has been working as an Executive Administrative Assistant at Crispus Attucks Charter School for just over a year. She has an undeniable passion for helping students, so it wasn’t long before she adopted additional roles of caretaker, guidance counselor, and nurse.

Roughly 100 students enroll at the YouthBuild-affiliated Charter School each year to obtain necessary senior credits for a high-school diploma. Many of these students lack a strong support system, have an absent parent/parents, are young parents themselves, or are homeless. Ms. Wible has become a source of hope for them. They learn early on that they can come to her office for just about anything, from band-aids or a snack, to a shoulder to cry on. Her nurturing spirit has earned her the name “Mom” among students.

Ms. Wible recalls her relationship with one of her students, Shawn. “Everyone called him my son,” she said, “but he was definitely on the wrong track when he first started. A bit of an attitude and a bit disrespectful.” His defiant behavior resulted in numerous suspensions from schools around York, and eventually led him to enroll at the Charter School to receive his diploma.

Despite his troublesome behavior, Ms. Wible took him under her wing. “He would always come to the office to offer help,” she said. “Whether to get paper for the copier or water for the office, he would always ask what he could do.” She would reward his acts of kindness with chocolate.

Over time, Shawn’s behavior began to improve, and he ultimately graduated this past June. Ms. Wible’s genuine compassion and mutual respect for Shawn played a significant role in his behavioral improvement and academic success. “He persevered through it all,” she said. “He even enrolled in the HACC Nursing program! I am so proud of him.”

Ms. Wible lives by this quote: “Learn to love without condition. Talk without bad intention. Give without any reason. And most of all, care for people without any expectation.”

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