She's now on MSNBC with her married name of Chris Jansing, but I first met her as Chris Kapostasy and most people in upstate New York will remember her as Ed Dague's co-anchor for many years on Channel 13 WNYT News out of Albany.
I was on the board of directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Fulton County from 1995 to 2005. When I came on the board, there was already an outreach program to publicize our need for mentors called "Monday's Child" with the local NBC affiliate. Chris had been doing the interviews and profiles of waiting little boys and girls who needed mentors for several years. They became the faces of children in need of adult mentors as quoted from the children's rhyme, "Monday's child is fair of face."
The reason I know so much about this program is because Herman was executive director during those years and helped match up a child waiting for a mentor or "big" for the interview with the TV anchor.
From what I remember, Chris was very understated and unassuming in her interviews with children to put them at ease. She carried no fanfare that she was a television personality and had in fact won an Emmy for her coverage of the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta, Georgia.
Chris had a special rapport with the children being interviewed. As with many of the stars I've talked about, Chris was very down to earth and real-not all caught up in her stature.
I checked out her bio and see that in 1993 the Vermont state Legislature passed a resolution honoring Chris Kapostasy for her commitment to youth issues, in particular her "Monday's Child" segments on WNYT.
I must say that of all the jobs I've heard Herman talk about that he took part in, mentoring children through Big Brothers was especially fulfilling. The help of personalities like Chris in meeting the needs of children had a special place in his heart.
As Herman used to say to me, the best time to reach a child is when they are very young, and being mentored by a nurturing adult was something that couldn't have a price tag put on it. Chris helped with that process as did later WNYT anchors John Grey (now with FOX News) and Kumi Tucker (still at WNYT) until the time WNYT discontinued the program.
Herman also has worked with youth at risk in middle school and high school venues, but the children in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program at a younger age had a better chance of reaping the benefits than those who may have been hardened with age and experience. Since she was spotted by a vacationing NBC executive in 1998, Chris has been seen under her married name of Chris Jansing on MSNBC, with recent daily airings at 3 p.m. She still strikes me as being comprehensive and caring, as she did back in the 1990s when she would take one child at a time and display the best side of that child to the camera and her audience.
She still has the ability to project caring, intelligent reporting, now to a national audience. Keep an eye on her. I think she will continue to go far.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in New York City and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her website www.kathrynskorner.com