Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 17, 2014

Lusso the newest board member to join KOTR

By Ken Steadman
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Charles Lusso was recently elected as the newest member of the Kids on the Rise board of directors. He is the 12th board member for this organization.

Lusso was born and raised in Independence, MO. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in secondary education and was drafted in the United States Army in 1970. He retired from the Army in 2008 as a lieutenant colonel, medical service officer, and Hospital Administrator. In 2010 he worked as a Supervisory Analyst for the Department of Home Security in the National Infrastructure Coordinator Center in Washington, DC.  Retired for good in 2012 and moved to Tennessee with his wife, Colleen. He now wants to get involved with children in need.

Kids on the Rise (KOTR) are committed to helping improve the child’s self-esteem, keep them in school and enhance their positive development. KOTR is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides mentors for boys and girls who are considered by their teacher to be performing below their potential. Mentoring is a one-to-one relationship between a youth and an adult. The mentor provides consistent support and guidance to the youth who is going through difficult challenges in life. Currently, there are 48 boys and girls receiving attention from mentors.

In addition, KOTR provides storybook readers who volunteer to read out loud each week to grades K-8. The goal is to develop new skills and enjoyment in reading, enhance the child’s capacity to listen, stimulate the child’s imagination and motivate them to read more.

There are presently 10 children on the waiting list for a mentor. Brown, Pleasant Hill and Stone Elementary schools each have one, and Martin Elementary has seven. Eight of the 10 are boys, so there is a definite need for male mentors. KOTR tries to match a community volunteer with a student to form a mentor/mentee team. The team meets weekly either at, or away from school, or during special activities planned by KOTR.

“If you want a useful and fulfilling life, mentoring is a great opportunity,” said one mentor.

Donna King is the executive director for Kids on the Rise and would be pleased to answer any questions or provide additional information. Her email address is and her office phone number is 459-2388. KOTR is at 348 Taylor St., Suite 102, Crossville.

Here is a list of the board members. Check with one of them to learn more about the program: President Josh Stone, Vice President Deanna Magdich, Secretary John Sohmer, Treasurer Ben Whitson and members Mary Coates, Aaron Elmore, Dave Farney, Art Gernt II, Patsy Thompson-Horst, Lusso, Kalyn Phelps and Ken Steadman.