We are at the Halfway Point!!!!

By DWOS 14 Dancer, Jody Weyers

IMAG2133_1_1 half way 1

My dance partner, Michael Witte, of Simply Ballroom. This lift may just be in one of my routines!!!

It is December 1st – most people are thinking 24 days until Christmas, not me, I am thinking 75 days before Dancing with Our Stars!  We are at the half-way point. Since October 1st, I have been dancing twice a week, for an hour at a time.

As I reflect back on the last two months, I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone.  As Sean Sanders, DWOS 2013 dancer, said at our kick-off party, it is amazing how much you can fit in a day and to enjoy the journey.

That is what I have been trying to do. I have been going nonstop since the kick-off. Work, dance, working-out and fundraising….it is exhausting, but also exhilarating. It is humbling how generous and supportive everyone has been and continues to be.

It is definitely a journey. A journey I am proud to take, with my ten other DWOS14 Stars, and all of our Stars of past to support a cause near and dear to me. Here are some of the highlights over the past two months:

1. Jim Rivett’s Mirrorball Party! He knows how to through one heck of a party, and one that will be talked about for years to come.  If you missed it, click HERE to see pics.

2. Challenging my mind and body. Yes, I can “shake it” with the best of them at a concert or bar, but ballroom dancing is a whole different animal. If my head and thoughts are anywhere else, but in the studio, it is not going to be a good dance day.  Dancing has been teaching me how to focus better, on and off the floor.

3. The camaraderie that has grown with my fellow dancers, their families, and our pro dancers! Yes, it is a competition, but bottom line, we are all there to support each other and to raise money for an amazing cause.

4. Helping me build greater confidence. I am not a size 2, nor do I have to be or ever will be. Dancing is teaching me to appreciate my body just the way it is. I think it is amazing that Amber Riley, took home the Mirrorball this year for the Dancing with the Stars show. She was full of spunk, personality and not a size two. Spunk & personality is what I am trying to channel in my two dances – tango & cha cha.

IMAG2134_1_1 halfway 2I look forward to what the next two months has in store, and will continue to enjoy this amazing (but difficult) journey. Thank you Michael for being an amazing and supportive dance partner in all of this.

Don’t forget to VOTE!!! 

“We may run, walk, stumble. drive, or fly, but let us never lose sight of the reason for the journey, or miss a chance to see a rainbow on the way.”
―     Gloria Gaither

Get to know our Star Dance Partners: Donald Driver

8887Driver, Donald

Photo courtesy of Frievalt Photography, llc

Donald Driver is a Super Bowl Champion, Green Bay’s all-time leading receiver and a “Dancing with the Stars” Champion who overcame homlessness and a challenging childhood to succeed.

Driver is the Packers’ all-time receiving leader in yards and receptions, and is the only player in Packers history to record seven 1,000 yard receiving seasons.  A top performer his entire career, Driver has been a four-time Pro Bowl selection.  In 2010, Donald and the Green Bay Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV giving Donald his first Super Bowl ring.

A native of Houston, Texas, Donald attended college at Alcorn State in Mississippi. While at Alcorn, Donald would meet his future wife, Betina.  Donald and Betina were married in 2000; they have three children together, a son Cristian, and two daughters Christina and Charity.

In 2012, Donald parlayed his on-field football success and charismatic personality into a spot on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” He and his partner, Peta Murgatroyd, danced their way into the finals and eventually took home the Mirror Ball Trophy.

Get to know Star Dancer 2013 – Rick Bondowski

9131RickI’m Rick Bondowski, Regional Retail Director at Associated Bank, I have been with Associated Bank for nearly 6 years. I serve on the board of Directors for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin and the Menominee Tribal College.

I am also a dad, husband, son, brother, uncle. I am on a mission to not embarrass myself and the aforementioned parties with my participation in Dancing with The Stars competition. My wife Claudine and I are blessed to have a wonderful son Jack, who was really excited for this competition; more so to see Donald and Betina Driver dance, rather than his Dad. I enjoy hunting, golfing, coaching Jack’s sports teams, as well as cheer on the Packers, Brewers, Bucks and my alma mater Marquette University.

My early memories of dancing come from family weddings.  When I was teenager, I believed I could really cut a rug.  I realize now that the sprinkler, lawn mower and driving the bus moves I had then will probably not cut it in this competition. I also spent a little time in show choir  in junior high and still take a lot of grief for the spirit finger moves I was required to do.

My personal favorite Dancing With The Stars Celebrity is Katherine Jenkins from the season Donald  Driver won. How could you not love someone who could say “Naughty Bits” on National TV?  She was also elegant, classy and quite a good dancer.

I am proud to support a great organization like the  American Red Cross and all the humanitarian efforts they lead. The risk of embarrassing myself is a small price to pay to help raise money to support those in need, when they need it most. With that, I am somewhat of a quiet guy. This experience is one of those ‘break out of the shell events’ that everyone should try. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone can be a good thing from time to time, and I am surely doing that here! When given the chance to sit it out or dance – I hope we all choose to dance.

Betina & Donald Driver to Support American Red Cross in “Dancing” Fundraiser

Matching mirror ball trophies could soon be on display at the Driver house if Betina Driver is the top fundraiser at Dancing with our Stars 2013 for the American Red Cross. The wife of Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver is one of nine local “celebrities” set to compete in the event, which supports local Red Cross efforts.

“We’re thrilled both Betina and Donald Driver will be part of Dancing with our Stars 2013,” said Steve Hansen, Regional Chapter Executive for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin. “I believe they will not only bring a high level of energy, enthusiasm and passion to the dance floor but also to raising funds on behalf of the Red Cross.”

Mrs. Driver has plenty to live up to when it comes to dancing after her husband took home the mirror ball trophy earlier this year on the 14th season of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Those dance moves will again be on display as Donald Driver will serve as Betina’s dance partner at the event.

The Red Cross will host a kickoff party Thursday, October 25th at 7 p.m. to unveil the complete 2013 “star dancer” lineup. It includes top executives, small business owners and members of the media. The invitation-only event will take place on the Club Level of the Lambeau Field Atrium.

Dancing with our Stars is now in its fifth year and it is has been a sold-out event each year. Not only do those in attendance support local efforts, so can those not attending as the “star dancers” receive votes in the form of donations to the Red Cross. One dollar equals one vote. All funds raised support disaster prevention, preparation and relief, the life-saving training of first aid, CPR/AED classes, collection and testing of blood and blood products, support to military members serving around the globe, the transportation program and international programs.

Dancing with our Stars 2013 will take place Saturday, February 23rd at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center in Green Bay. Information about tickets will be available in January. More event information can be found on the following Red Cross platforms:

Website: redcross.org/newisconsin

Dancing with our Stars blog: redcrossdwosblog.org

Facebook: facebook.com/NEWRedCross

Twitter: @NEWRedCross (#dwos to join the conversation!)

The Green Bay Packers, the Oneida Nation, Festival Foods, Schneider National, WBAY-TV, WIXX and the Green Bay Press-Gazette are proud sponsors of the event.

About the American Red Cross:

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.