Be A Role Model

Children are great immitators.

Written by Liz Groth

“The youth need more role models that they can look up to,” Matt Gannon, a sophomore at St. Norbert College, declared early on in my interview with him. Serving with the Greater Green Bay YMCA through Michels Hall Service Program gave Matt the opportunity to step up to the plate and become a role model for a group of 5th grade students in the Eisenhower Elementary after-school program. By working with the students one on one to tutor them in math and reading, Matt is able to share his passion for learning and inspire these students to work hard to make their dreams come true.
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Kids 2 Campus 2014

On Wednesday, April 9th, 92 elementary students from surrounding schools journeyed to St. Norbert College  for Kids 2 Campus. Youth who attend a YMCA or Boys and Girls Club After-School program at high poverty schools in the Green Bay School District participated in the visit. Continue reading

“A moment I will never forget.” – A Dance Marathon Reflection by Maira Rodriguez ’14

On November 2nd, over 200 St. Norbert College students gathered together for the first annual Dance Marathon event, a daylong fundraising celebration. To learn more about the event itself, read our previous blog Dance for a Chance & IgKnight Hope – Dance Marathon 2013!

After much hard work, the results from Dance Marathon (DM) are in:

  • 223 students participated in the day’s activities!
  • 9 families (who had or have children being treated at the hospital) attended the event!
  • $21,372.01 was raised! This will be donated directly to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. (The fundraising goal was $20,000!)
  • Everyone stayed on their feet for 13.1 hours!

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Below is a reflection of the event by Dance Marathon member and event participant, Maira Rodriguez ‘14.

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From the moment I stepped into Schuldes Sports Center for Dance Marathon, I got chills. Seeing countless children running around and dancing all day long created an overwhelming atmosphere of joy for everyone and there was not one second of the 13.1 hours that I did not have a smile on my face. Not only were the children having a blast, but their families were too! I’ll admit that my feet were definitely hurting as we got a few hours in, but not once did I consider sitting down. I was constantly thinking about the children for whom I was standing and dancing for. Hearing stories from families was an additional motivator that kept me determined to remain standing. These families were willing to open up to a group of college students, share their memories and experiences, and become completely vulnerable to more than 200 strangers. Each time a family spoke, I could not help but shed a tear. Every single family had a powerful journey full of challenges they had the strength to overcome. Hearing their stories was a truly inspirational and humbling experience.

Pearce
Pearce

There was one boy who really touched my heart. His name was Pearce. Pearce’s family was the last family to share their story with us. When Pearce’s family came up and talked about him, his dad mentioned the scars Pearce had on his chest. To Pearce, these scars were known as “battle scars.” His dad shared that Pearce gets really excited when their family shares the story related to his “battle scars” because Pearce feels a sense of bravery for what he accomplished. Pearce was determined to show us his “battle scars”, but his dad urged him to wait until a later time. Upon hearing those words, he became upset and started to cry. His dad, realizing how meaningful this experience would be for his son, immediately changed his mind. With a face of enthusiasm, Pearce lifted up his shirt and showed us his “battle scars.” At that moment, my heart just melted. He was so vulnerable in showing them to us. I could not help but cry and smile at the same time. The stage was his and our hearts connected to this little boy and to his story. As the family went off the stage, I went up to Pearce and gave him a huge hug and all he could do was smile. That was a moment I will never forget.

 As a senior, I am beyond grateful that I had the opportunity to be a part of the first St. Norbert College Dance Marathon. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for this organization. For as incredible as this year was, I know it can only get better from here.

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FOR THE KIDS!

A Winning Partnership with the Boys and Girls Club

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By Laura Riley

Recently we had the opportunity to speak with residents of the Boys and Girls Club Theme House. Theme Houses allow students to purposefully define their on-campus living experience and contribute to the greater campus community through service. This service is in accordance with their goals, interests, and pursuits and their efforts relate to the mission of each individual group.

The Boys and Girls Club Theme House is made up of 6 upperclassmen. Last month, the group of men joined the Boys and Girls Club of Green Bay for a day supported by The Donald Driver Foundation. The afternoon featured family games, an inflatable obstacle course, arts and crafts, a healthy meal and the Punt, Pass & Kick Challenge. 

The six men dedicated their afternoon to leading the Punt, Pass & Kick Challenge. A fitting assignment seeing as three of the individuals are members of the St. Norbert football team: Danny Egan, Mark Villers and Ryan Kaltenmark. Here is their take on being able to serve with the local nonprofit.

“Volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club is rewarding because it gives us an opportunity to give back to the community. When we were at the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition the kids were asking the football guys if they were on the team at St. Norbert. I thought it was really cool because it is clear that we are giving them someone to look up to.” -McKenzie Thiel ‘14

“Honestly, the most enjoyable aspect of volunteering is the feeling we get when we know we’ve helped someone, or maybe even had a positive impact on the kids. I think we are showing the kids that people who play college football can really be anyone. That may sound like I’m disrespecting the football players who volunteer with us, but what I mean is that these guys aren’t above anyone else. They show the kids that college football players are still human. I can tell we are having an impact because of how excited the kids are when we work with them. The looks on their faces during the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition said it all.” -Ryan Dauman ‘15

“The most enjoyable part of volunteering for the Boys and Girls Club for the Punt, Pass and Kick Competition was being able to actually provide the kids with an opportunity to take part in a fun and competitive activity. The kids really enjoyed learning the basic fundamentals of football and seeing them have fun provided me with a sense of gratification that I was helping out the community. Also, as a St. Norbert football player I felt like a role model to the kids who wanted to learn more about the game. I believe the biggest impact we’re having on the community is that we’re simply giving the kids an opportunity to come together and meet new friends, while also providing them with a positive environment.” -Danny Egan ‘15

“The most rewarding aspect of volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club is simply giving back to the community. Throughout my childhood I always had an adult helping me along the way, especially through athletics. Volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club is a great opportunity now that I am in a position to give back. I believe that our volunteering has a very positive influence on the kids. One reason is because we are role models to them. This is especially beneficial because some may not have many positive role models in their home life. Secondly, when the kids grow up, hopefully they will remember the time and lessons we gave them and will want to give back to their community when they are older as well.” -Mark Villers ‘15

“The most enjoyable aspect of volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club is just knowing that we are helping out in the community. We really get to see the kids having a good time and how they look up to us. The biggest impact I think we have on the kids is being role models to them. I especially feel that way as a football player in the area and as someone they can look up to and see where hard work gets you.” -Ryan Kaltenmark ‘15

The theme house partnership with the Boys and Girls Club will continue throughout the academic year. The group will continue to assist with sport-related events like flag football and basketball tournaments. Not only is the group having an impact on the youth, the youth are having a positive effect on the upperclassmen as well.