Shari Solomon-Kleba was nominated by an anonymous member of the community.
"I first met Shari when she worked for Girl Scouts of Utah, and I was auditioning to be part of the GSUSA convention flag ceremony team. Right then and there, she was encouraging and a positive light to every girl who wanted to be involved," said the nominator. "Fast forward several months to the week before convention, when the Girl Scout Lego robotics coach quit, and the team fell apart right before they were supposed to showcase their robot to thousands of convention-goers. I hadn’t seen Shari since tryouts, but she stepped in and quickly held the remaining three girls (myself included) together. She also brought in an older girl to mentor our team through the process. Instead of being done when convention was over in October, she found a family who was involved in the First Lego League and agreed to help us learn programming and coding to compete in our competition months later. Shari continued to come and support us on her own time — even on the competition day. Her commitment to us learning was unreal."
Ms. Solomon-Kleba's dedication continues. She now teaches science to middle and high school students at the Jean Massieu School for the Deaf in Salt Lake City. Through her knowledge and love of ASL, she is just as encouraging and nurturing to these students as she was to the robotics team.
"Although I do not attend the school, I’ve seen her spend time talking to students afterschool about assignments or making sure they’re feeling better if they were sick," said the nominator. "Her classroom is amazing, with fun, hands-on science and innovative projects, many which allow the students to think and figure out things so they have more ownership in their education."
"I, too, have been a pupil of Shari’s approach. She now coaches a First Lego robotics team afterschool at the Jean Massieu School, which allows students to figure out things for themselves," said the nominator. "She asked me to be their mentor. So, while I help support them to succeed, much of the communication between the team and me falls to my creativity since I don’t know ASL. Shari believes that learning comes in all forms. I’ve learned some words, but I’ve also talked to the team through charades or written words. We are learning to appreciate what each of us brings to the team, which allows us to learn from one another and bond."
"Shari continues to be involved in Girl Scouting. She has helped start a troop at the school and she has become my troop co-leader," said the nominator. "Again, she uses that same spark of energy to excite us and guide us, but also takes a step back so we become leaders who are committed to making a difference in our community. Shari empowers youth to be engaged in our learning, and that's why she's a LifeChanger."