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gs benson200Andra BensonAllison, Carly, Lily & Maria, members of Cadette Girl Scout Troop 40086, decided to highlight 'Hidden Heroines' of Lansing by writing tributes to exceptional women they have encountered and submitting them to local newspapers.  Andra Benson, Kim Sweeney, Francesca Crannell, and Kyoshis Robin McColley and Gail Lajoie were profiled.  Here we are featuring the profiles of Benson and McColley and Lejoie.  See Matthew Montague's column in yesterday's (6/4/2015) Ithaca Journal for profiles on Sweeney and Cranell.

Andra Benson, by Maria
Andra Benson is a real treasure in our community.  She not only helps people out (which is an understatement) at All Saints Church but she organizes many other fundraisers.  I know her personally because she teaches all first communion, reconciliation, and confirmation classes at All Saints.  Not only does she teach the classes but one time another girl and I missed class and she invited us to her house for a make-up class.  It was one of the most fun classes I have ever been to.

Behind almost all fundraisers and events is a man or woman that is arranging it all and I bet that you have been to one that Andra has organized.  Andra not only cares for her own kids but she also has fostered many children and still keeps in touch with them today.  Also, Andra has served on the school board, youth services board and as a town council member.

Andra always chaperones the mission trips through LUMC, Cornell, and All Saints.  On the mission trips Andra uses her Spanish skills as she is also a translator.  Furthermore, Andra also opens up her house to host masses, bonfires, and snow ball fights for youth.  I hope that Andra will continue to be a cornerstone of our community because without her I think we would all be more than a little lost.

gs gailrobin200Gail Lajoie (left) and Robin McColleyRobin McColley and Gail Lajoie, by Lily
It is no question that Kyoshi Robin and Gail are good people.  They not only help teach kids and adults Seido Karate, but they also do many fundraisers.  They raise money to help the SPCA, with a food drive, and collecting school supplies for students.  That is not all they do:  they also help people with cognitive and physical challenges.

Through karate, they teach their students how to be better people and go out of their way to help people by offering camps and activities.  They have different classes, such as Meditation and Endurance that help students calm down and forget about the stresses of life.  They take the time to get to know their students and their families so that they can help them and be there for them.  Kyoshi Robin and Gail are not just karate instructors--they are friends.

The Girl Scouts of Troop 40086 earned their Bronze Award 3 years ago by developing and planting the garden in front of the Lansing Town Trail.   They earned their Silver Award last year (June 2014) by renovating the outdoor restrooms and planting a garden in Memory of the W. Cooke Family adjacent to  the Lansing Town Hall offices.  They have performed local service projects at food pantries, ringing the bells for the Salvation Army at holiday time, and putting on mini-concerts and skits for Woodsedge residents. They also go on overnight camping trips and have helped with clean up at Comstock Girl Scout Camp.

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