Get to know Janna, one of Project Respect’s facilitators!


Q: When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be…

A: a newscaster. I used to sit and read my Weekly Reader into the mirror in my bedroom and pretend I was reporting the news – I would make my dog stay in the room with me so I at least had an audience of one. Weird but true.


Q: How did you end up at Project Respect?

A: I was working on a grant project that came to a close and someone I was in a class with at church shared the job posting. It was new territory for me, but I took a leap of faith!

Q: What do you love most about working with Project Respect?

A: It truly is a great group of people with a shared mission of empowering young people to live their best lives – it’s an uphill climb at times but if even one student chooses a better way for him/herself then you know what you’re doing matters.

Q: Favorite ice cream flavor?

A: So I don’t love ice cream like 99% of the population but everyone else in my family does so when I’m along for the ride, I will choose something that has some chocolate and nuts in it but truth be told, my favorite part is the cone!


Q: What food can you not go without?

A: Cheese. Every day and all kinds of cheese. At any given time, there are probably at least five different kinds of cheese in my refrigerator. I can remember neither one of my kids liked cheese the first time I gave it to them, and I was convinced there was something seriously wrong with their taste buds.

Q: What’s one of your best memories as a child?

A: I am fortunate enough to have many. I have always loved summer and being outside so my happiest and most vivid memories are those that involve both…my mom taking us swimming, my grandparents taking us camping and my other grandparents taking us to their lake house in northern Michigan…my favorite two weeks of every summer as a kid.


Q: I could go anywhere in the world…

A: There are literally so many places I have never been that I could make a list a mile long but maybe Greece – I have no connection to that part of the world but I love the food and even pictures of the Mediterranean Sea make me breathe easier.


Q: People might be surprised to know…

A: I’m more athletic than I look. I played on a co-ed softball team after college and can remember when I got up to bat, the whole field practically closed in to the plate – I ripped the ball into the outfield and got a triple. So there…


Q: When I’m not in the classroom, I’m most likely to be found…

A: Either at my other job, at home with my people or at one of my kid’s events.


Q: How do you relax?

A: Lots of things – listen to music, walk my adorable dog, get a massage (probably my favorite – more time and more money would equal more massages for me!!)


Q: What was the last movie, TV show or book that made you emotional, cry or tear up?

A: Ha! That would be whatever the last movie I saw was – which I guess was Black Panther and I’m sure I cried because I’m an emotional sap! I can remember getting busted by my college roommates crying while watching an episode of Saved by the Bell.

Q: Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

A: Honest answer – my four grandparents. I loved them all dearly, miss each of them daily and to sit at a table with ALL of them together with my kids would be heaven to me.


Q: Would you like to be famous? In what way?

A: I used to want to be famous…bad. I would perform all the time as a kid, despite having no talent, and would force others to perform with me – my cousins still bring it up and are still slightly bitter. I even used to think about what I would say in my Academy Award acceptance speech??? I’m happy to report I outgrew that. Truly my passion is trying to help people – no fame required.


Q: What does your perfect day look like?

A: The beach, the water, the sun, my family, a few close friends, some good food – sprinkle in a boat as a bonus. I work a lot from home so I feel like my job always follows me. A perfect day would also include being able to totally unplug – I rarely do that and we all need it.