HEIGHTS — Janice Lichtner has resided in the city for 49 years at 5612 Croissant. She is 72 years old and full of energy. She is a widow of a Dearborn Heights firefighter. She retired from working as a preschool teacher at Mt. Hope where she worked for over 15 years. She also worked for Dearborn Association for Retarded Children for 7 years. Janice was married for 40 years and has 7 children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
She has served as a mentor at Bedford Elementary School for over 5 years. Every Tuesday, Mrs. Lichtner comes for the entire morning and works one-on-one with several students’ grades 1-5. These students are struggling readers and need this extra attention to improve. Although there are lesson plans to follow, she adds her own personal touch and finesse to every teaching opportunity. Through this program, she has shown great love for children and literacy. As a book is being shared with each student, she huddles close to keep each one on task and actively engaged. Although Tuesdays are her scheduled days to work at Bedford, she has also come at many other times to read to classes or do projects with them. She volunteers to read stories to the various classes as well as mentor individual students with special needs in reading.Every time she enters Bedford Elementary School, it is with a smile, kind words and an infectious enthusiasm for education and children. She embodies what is inherently still valued in our world today – compassion, strong moral character, generosity and selflessness.
Janice has volunteered for the meals on wheels program for over 8 years. Every Monday and other days if needed, she is at the Eton Center ready and willing to deliver meals to the homebound of Dearborn Heights. It doesn’t matter that many of these people are 10 or more years younger than Janice, she is aware they are not able to prepare a hot nutritious meal for themselves on a daily basis and she needs to know they are being cared for. If someone appears to need extra attention that day, Janice is always willing to take the extra time to talk with them and ensure their needs are being met.
Janice also volunteers at Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. She has been volunteering in this capacity for approximately 15 years and enjoys interacting with and helping others who are visiting this wonderful treasure we are fortunate enough to have in our backyard.
Throughout her years in Dearborn Heights she has also been a great neighbor. She has always made it a point to ensure the safety and quality of life for all of the children in our neighborhood. She most recently planned and hosted a Halloween Party for all the children on the block as well as the older neighbors’ grandchildren. She is the first to welcome and greet any new neighbors who may move in and usually brings them a cake or cookies. Everyone on the block knows that they can count on Janice if they need a helping hand or a listening ear. Janice has given her time to drive neighbors to and from the hospital. She has been a care giver to a neighbor’s ailing parents, when that neighbor had to work. And she has consoled and comforted neighbors when they were in need. She has never hesitated helping when it was needed.
Not everyone is blessed with a neighbor such as Janice, however everyone should be. She is always there for everyone in the neighborhood.
In her spare time, Janice watches her 9 year old great grandson.
As you can see, Janice is a very loving and caring person to both the young and old. She works endlessly to improve the quality of life for others. Because of this and the changes she has made in other peoples lives, I believe she is a great choice for the 2009 Dearborn Heights Senior Citizen of the Year.