Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

By April S. Kelley
Reporter & Photographer 

New Lights On coordinator takes over for 2016-17 school year


Elisa Daniels will be taking Jenny Davis' position as the Lights On Coordinator for the 2016-17 school year.

Daniels said she is a graduate of Hot Springs County High School. She then graduated from the University of Wyoming in December 2013 with a bachelor's degree in sociology. She is currently working on obtaining her masters degree in school counseling at Adams State University, slated to graduate in May 2017.

Daniels said she has worked with kids, specifically when she coached and worked at Gottsche. She worked at Gottsche for three years, where she did programs such as tumbling.

"I have had a passion for helping kids and being involved with them," she said. "I did sports in high school and that has been my passion for a while. This is a broader scheme of that."

Working with people in different areas of education is important to Daniels, she said

"This [Lights On] really brings all that together with lots of hands-on learning, just a lot of different components," she said. "It's never boring. It's always going. And that's kind of how I like to live my life as well."

Daniels said she loves to work with kids because they are genuine.

"They're just so genuine and they're so full of life and I feed on that," she said. "They're fun to be around. To see things through their eyes, it gives you such a different perspective on life."

Lights On gives children experiences they might not normally have, Daniels said.

"Seeing that joy in them, it makes you feel younger," she said. "It makes you live more in the moment. It makes you remember to let go of everything you're worrying about. It makes you be present with them and that's all they need in the moment."

Former Lights On Coordinator Jenny Davis said she believes Daniels will do a great job.

"I would say that probably one of her best traits is that she has very good people skills," she said. "I think that's really important, to be able to work with the community and be a professional as well as with parents, youth and the staff. That's just something that I don't think can be trained. She appreciates people, she respects them and she knows how to talk to them appropriately."

Davis shared her favorite things about the Lights On program.

"One of my favorite things about the program that may be hard for the community to grasp, even though sometimes it's crazy and sometimes it's chaos, is how neat it is to see the kids working together," she said. "To be able to sit back and watch the kids, it's what I'll miss the most - just the pure joy."

They are kids and they are caught up in that moment of pure joy and just being kids, not having to worry about the real world and just being able to do what makes them feel good, Davis said.

"We get these glimpses of real joy and what that is," she said. "They're just so content. It's these moments that we realize why we do what we do. Although we are an academic enrichment program and support the school day and really help kids be proficient and create that level of learning, kids have moments just to be a kid and really be happy, genuinely happy and you see it. That's what helps us to be resilient."

Davis said Lights On provides kids that opportunity to find happiness and be at peace.

"The simple things are what fill us as human beings," she said. "That's what I will miss, just seeing that pure joy in kids when they are in their realm of joy and happiness. It's hard to not be a part of something that I feel really strongly about."

Davis said she hopes every kid leaves Lights On knowing that they are loved.

"Kids love having people in their lives that care about them and they reciprocate that," she said. "It's neat to be a part of that and see how it has impacted kids over the years."

One of the things Davis said she is most proud of is the relationships, that the kids know they matter and the opportunities to learn.

"Learning is fun and we bring that back," she said. "It's fun to learn new things. It's fun to be challenged. It's fun to do things you didn't know you could do - to just be."


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