Remembering the Record-Setting DWOS Journey of Jim Rivett —

*** You had so much more to finish but the legacy you are leaving in all of us will live on forever & continue to inspire and bring hope to others.  Love you Jim.  – Jody Weyers 

By Shawn Kiser, DWOS Executive Producer

When you raise $200,000 you deserve to be called “The King” and that’s exactly how I referred to Jim Rivett following his record-setting fundraising campaign for “Dancing with Our Stars” in 2014. I’m blessed to have held a front-row seat for this epic journey and am honored to share […]

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Life Lessons: Hard Work Pays Off!

I have been involved on the operations side of running events for the past 14 years and the thing that keeps me always coming back, or taking on more, is seeing the faces (young and old) cross the finish line having accomplished their goal and dream!

A couple months back I was asked by my  fellow past Red Crosser, Annie Taff, if I wanted to help lead up the course volunteers for the Girls on the Run of South Central Wisconsin 5K event.  How could I say no to help with this amazing event that helps to build self-confidence in girls 3rd-5th grade while preparing them to run a 5k at the end of 10 weeks. I wish I had something like this when I was growing up.

From my experience course monitors are always the last area to fill for every event I am involved with, but I feel one of the most critical areas. I am happy to say we had 25+volunteers for race day and had an AMAZING crew to make sure the girls were safe on the course while for many of them, completing their first 5K.

I watched at the finish area for a bit and it was so incredible to see the faces of these young girls, as they crossed the finish line and realize what hard work, perseverance and dedication feels like.

These are life lessons that all young girls and boys can hopefully hold on to as they get to junior high, high school, college and adult hood.

I feel people want to take the easy route out now a days, and as a society we are loosing the essence of a hard work ethic. In my life, the harder I work for something the greater the reward. I feel if it comes to easy we don’t appreciate the end result as much.

Two years ago, I completed my first half marathon. Running is not easy for me at all, fitting in the training was hard, race day was HOT, but I finished. I will never forget that feeling and I can honestly say I am so proud of myself for completing that dream of mine.  I hope everyone who crossed the finish line on Saturday continues to feel that feeling of “crossing the finish line” in everything they do and know….. that if you put in the hard work, it will pay off!

ps. I also got to volunteer with some amazing friends too = BONUS!

Volunteering = Mood Changer

Working full-time, it is hard to find time to volunteer for organizations I want to give back to. After a long work day, sometimes you just want to go home and kick back. That was my day today. I was tired, my allergies were driving me crazy – itchy eyes, sneezing and I didn’t want to volunteer.

I am a person though when I make a commitment, I am going to follow through.  I get ready and walk down to the Goodman Community Center. Taking the short walk on this beautiful day instantly boosted my mood, and by the time I got to the doors of the Goodman Center, I had an attitude shift.

Tonight was their Family Fun Night – a free event for the community including a  BBQ dinner, games for the kids, and a special theatrical performance by some of the children.

I helped with registering the families. Taking down their name, ages of the children and the school they attend. Rough estimate I would say we had around 500 adults and children attend tonight. By the time everyone was through, we ran out of almost everything!

It was an amazing two hours filled with laughter, smiles and a great event bringing our community together!

Next time you commit to something and don’t feel in the mood:

1. Go – because as a fellow volunteer manager, nothing is worst than having volunteers back out last-minute.

2. You will surprise yourself in how giving back is an instant mood changer.

 

Kindness Calendar: Day 3-4-5

Day 3 – “Leave a Happy Note for Someone Else to Find”

I was staying with a friend up in Green Bay on Saturday night, and I planned to leave him a happy little note when I left, but I admit, I forgot.  Instead, Sunday night I was writing out my bills (Yes, I still write checks and don’t have automatic withdrawal) and in the memo of each check I wrote “Merry Christmas”.  Whoever opens my bills, I hope it brings a smile to their face!

Day 4 – “Give Money for each bed in your house to a homeless charity”

I have one bed in my house, so after doing some research, I chose to give a financial gift to The Road Home Dane County.

Day 5 – “Count how many people you smiled at today”

Again, this was an easy one! I was helping out at a first time blood drive at MATC – Portage Campus.  I was assisting at the registration desk checking in the blood donors. I didn’t specifically count how many people I smiled at but I do know we had 27 people check in, so I smiled to at least that many people. Thank you to all the blood donors who give the gift of life this Holiday Season!

 

Kindness Calendar: Day 2

“Make some homemade gifts to give away this festive season.” 

I have this one nailed! For the past few weeks I have been a busy bee creating holiday ornaments to give to some of the volunteers that I work with and other special people. 

A year ago when my parents were cutting down trees on our family farm and I asked them to cut me some wood slices from those trees. I have been drying the wood for a year and now they are ready to be decorated and turned into holiday ornaments. 

Decorating is the fun, but simple party. Really something any DYI’er can do.  A simple stamp, ink pad, string and the thing that makes them pop is glitter spray paint. I like the Krylon Glitter Shimmer. 

Ta Da! You have an amazing natural Christmas tree ornament anyone would love and the best part it is all homemade!

 

 

Kindness Calendar!

It is December 1st! How did that happen? With every new month, and especially every new year, it always seems like a good time to me to start a “habit”. I came across this Kindness Calendar on the Action for Happiness website and thought, this is great!

With everything going on in the world, we truly need more kindness. I invite you to join me on this “kindness adventure”.  Day one – complete!

Snail Mail!

Last weekend I participated in a class at the Dreambank in Madison. “The Lost Art of Snail Mail”, presented by Taryn of theLoveSum.  She shared her views on the benefits to you and the person you are sending mail too. She didn’t have to twist my arm. I love sending cards and all the better when I receive a card back.

The best type of cards are homemade ones.  Taryn went over a few different techniques for making homemade cards.  This was our chance to play and get messy.  She showed us a technique using paint, water and soap, to make colored bubbles to stain our card paper.  She also showed us a super messy but fun technique using shaving cream, paint and toothpicks.

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays coming up, take sometime to unplug, get messy and make cards to send to some special people in your life. Trust me, this gift is not only good for your soul, but a homemade card with a special note will also touch the person you are giving it to, and would mean more than any store bought gift.

As a challenge……  Make a list of 5 special people in your life, and send them a homemade card.  Doesn’t have to be fancy, but it does need to be heartfelt.

Need some inspiration?  Check out the links to these blogs to inspire you!

November Give Back!

All year long I try to volunteer as much as I can, but I feel like in November I need to step it up.  It is Thanksgiving after all!

This is the second year in a row that I have volunteered for the Goodman Community Center Thanksgiving Basket Drive that will provide over 3,500 families in need with a Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings.

My location was at the Festival Foods store in Madison to handed out flyers with information about the program and a shopping list of needed items. My shift started off slow, but then again, I was at the liquor entrance and it was one hour to kick-off for the Badgers Game. But then, you get that one donor who puts their items they purchased in your cart, and soon becomes a domino effect.

My shift was 2 hours and the time flew by. Something like this is not for everyone. You can’t be shy, you have to be able to approach people because if not, they will just blow right by you. Making eye contact is also key.

Come on, admit it…. how many times have you walked past a Red Kettle, eyes low, and full steam ahead?  I am guilty too.

We don’t know a persons situation, so that is why you can’t judge who gives and who doesn’t, but the key is you have to ask.  You thank them all and tell them to have a great day, and in turn, you are making a great day for yourself!

Looking for ways to help and get involved in your community? November and December there are no shortages of volunteer opportunities.

Here are a few.

Soulful Sunday!

What a perfect way to end the weekend by volunteer a couple of hours for the 2017 Sunflower Days in Verona.

If you have never been, I highly recommend it.  First it is free (but I encourage you to make a donation at one of donation stations) because this 9-acre sunflower field with over a half million sunflowers in bloom is breathtaking!

I got there at 6pm and had time to walk around the field and take some pictures (along with hundreds of other people) and then at 6:30, I reported to my post.  I met some really great people from the Friends of Pope Farm Conservancy who handed me my yellow vest, radio and put me at my post. My role was to direct the traffic to the lower field, and if that filled, direct to the hay field.

Parking cars can sometimes be a challenge based on a few that don’t listen to your directions, but I am happy to say everyone was so friendly and had this carefree energy. I contribute it to the sunflowers.  Looking at a sunflower makes me happy, can you image what half a million will do to your soul? I also love it when people acknowledge that you are giving back. A simple, “thank you for volunteering” means the world to us all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

People ask me all the time how I find out about volunteer opportunities.  This opportunity I discoverer through a volunteer interest group that I am a member of on Meet Up. If you are new to a city or looking to “meet up” with people of like minded interests, I highly recommend signing up or start your own meet up group.

What a great way to start off my work week…. Sunflowers, fresh air and giving back! Hope your Sunday was as soulful as mine!

Get to Know – DWOS14 All Star – Jody Weyers

I am dancing again!!! Here is my official Bio!

Love these people! My volunteer crew for my 40th Birthday Bash Fundraiser!

It’s hard to believe it was four years ago I competed in the 2014 Dancing with Our Stars for the American Red Cross. When I look back on my journey I can honestly say it was one of the most rewarding and humbling experiences of my life.  To this day, I continue to be humbled by all the people who supported me along the way and who contributed to my fundraising campaign in shattering my goal of raising $40,000. My final fundraising total was $56,182.57!

Here we are in year 10 and the final year – it is bitter sweet!  I have been involved with this event since it was just an idea that came out of the mouth of one of our board members, Jim Gagnon, and here we are nine years later, 95 community…

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