Creating community and identifying resources to help neighbors, help themselves brings joy to Elise. It is why she organized the East Meyer Neighborhood Cluster in 2006. “We began with and still have a focus on neighborhood cleanliness,” she says. Elise orders dumpsters for cleanup days, finds and distributes information about where to take recyclables, and identifies grant money that neighbors can use for home upkeep.
In 2008, Elise led a phone bank for the Obama campaign, and recalls it as a highlight of her life. Today, she invites candidates for political office to speak to neighbors so they can make informed voting decisions, she helps identify fact-based information so neighbors are knowledgeable about health and safety issues, and she faithfully attends Fifth District meetings.
Elise’s effective approach to community involvement stems from her education and professional pursuits. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UMKC, worked as a nurse to help her husband through medical school and was president of the Jackson County Medical Auxiliary (now the Jackson County Medical Society Auxiliary). She also taught for 30 years, five in the St. Joseph Diocese and 25 in Kansas City, Mo.
Elise dreams that, one day, Kansas City’s boulevards will be among the nations cleanest, so she is outside every day, beautifying the streets and leading by example.
“I encourage everyone regardless of age to stay informed and maintain a positive perspective,” she says. “I believe in the East Meyer motto: ‘Be the Change You Want to See.’ “