WASHINGTON, DC – Building Hope, the non-profit leader in charter school facilities, financing, and services, today announced the three finalists for its first annual Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Award. The award – created and named in honor of dedicated volunteer leader Shellie-Ann Braswell who led with love and made everything around her shine brighter – recognizes dedicated school volunteers who embody that spirit and make memories for charter school families to cherish.
“Shellie-Ann was and is a bright spirit. If she were here in person, we would have to turn down the brightness because she radiates all on her own,” said Allie L. Braswell, Jr., the Senior Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for VyStar Credit Union and husband of Shellie-Ann Braswell, for whom the inspirational award is named. “I am touched her memory and legacy will live on through this award, making sure we celebrate people who give back, pay it forward, and make a difference, purely out of their own heart and because it is the right thing to do. The very lives these three finalists touch are changed forever. That is what Shellie-Ann was about and what this award is for.”
Each finalist was nominated by the public charter schools they support. Three grants will be awarded at the first annual Building Hope Summit & Awards in June to promote the continuation of the volunteers’ work: one $5,000 grant and two $2,500 grants.
The 2022 Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Award finalists are:
Dominique Moore, volunteer at EL Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, DC
For Dominique, volunteering is a way to keep her own light bright. One of the initiatives this working mom started was to help families connect during the pandemic. Dominique initiated a soccer program for young students, giving them the opportunity to connect beyond the classroom and with students from all over the community. With no barriers to participation, scholarships assist more than 30 of the 140 children who participate today.
Moore said, “I am grateful for people like Ms. Braswell who paved the way and set the example for other parents. I believe in our future, I know how important it is, and I know firsthand how instrumental love is to a child.
Sabrina Payne, volunteer at Project Impact STEM Academy in Kuna, ID
For Sabrina, whose activities range from leading the PTA to organizing a family STEM night to bring the community together and showcase how children’s learning connects to future careers, giving back is a way of life that rewards and enriches her own life. Whenever there is a need at the school, Sabrina finds the will and the way to make it happen.
Payne said, “I want to build a community that helps our kids because our community, our lives, our world is so much better when we have that unity, that connection, and that comes by nurturing our children and starting that when they are young.”
Shawna Thissen, volunteer at Promesa Academy in San Antonio, TX
For Shawna, volunteering is about coordinating inside the school community and outside in the local community, as well. Located in one of the lowest-income areas in the city, many school families could not afford presents at the holidays. Shawna organized a giving tree program that involved those in the broader community and provided presents for more than 100 students last year.
Thissen said, “I do this for the kids, not just my own, but for all of them in the school. You don’t understand how good I feel. Seeing the connections between students, families, teachers – and seeing the kids’ excitement when a loved one is on campus– is so impactful. I hope it’s teaching our children that this is what being part of a community is, that it’s walking the walk.”
“It is a joy to celebrate these selfless leaders who make such an impact in their communities,” said Building Hope’s Chief Marketing Officer and Chair of the IMPACT Selection Committee Sherilyn Moore. “Each of these finalists demonstrates exceptional commitment to their charter school families and the understanding that when you give, you receive so much more. This is love in action and truly honors the memory of our colleague and friend, Shellie-Ann.”
Final results of the Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Awards will be announced during Building Hope’s first annual IMPACT Summit taking place from June 22-24, 2022, in Washington, DC. The IMPACT Summit will gather a cohort of top charter school leaders for a deep-dive masterclass, so they may share their successes, discuss challenges, and inspire each other to increase their impact. Additional information is available at www.buildinghope.org/