Get to Know: Jody Weyers from the American Red Cross

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”

― Eleanor Roosevelt

IMG_2567 Jody

photo by Frievalt Photography, llc

How many of you have heard of “the bucket list”? It is a list of things you want to do before you “kick the bucket.” Do you have a bucket list?  I do, and some of the things on that list include; dipping my toe in all four of the oceans (have three of the four complete), Visiting all seven continents (four of seven done) and to run a half marathon. I must admit, ballroom dancing was not on the list.

At first, my coworkers and I joked about me dancing, and then it was like, “Jody, why don’t you” and I thought….. Let’s add it to the bucket list!

February 11, 2014 will be my 40th birthday, so if there was going to be a year to dance this would be the year!

Forty years ago, this small town girl was born to Larry and Bea Weyers. I grew up on a 70 acre hobby farm in Black Creek (population 1,028) with an older sister and younger brother and we raised pigs and horses. I graduated from Shiocton High School in 1992 with a whopping graduating class of 56 people! I knew from early on that I wanted to experience and see as much of this big world as I could, but coming from a small town it was scary to venture too far.

I chose to go to college at UW-Green Bay, and I graduated in 1996 with a degree in communications. I must admit, I had no idea what I wanted to go to school for and communications was the only major I didn’t have to take statistics, so that is what I did…. Who knew it would lead me to where I am today.

I can honestly say, I have one of the greatest jobs as the Volunteer and Communications Director for the American Red Cross and have been here for over 12 years. A big part as to why it is so great is because of our volunteers.  Every day I am inspired by the dedication and passion that our volunteers have for the Red Cross.

My passion is inspiring others to get involved in the community and volunteer. I tell people all the time, my job as a volunteer manager is to connect people with their passion, and if it is with the Red Cross, than that is just a bonus.

As communications director, I am very visible in the community, but for most events, I am used to being behind the scenes. Participating in Dancing with Our Stars will definitely be taking me out of my comfort zone. I look forward to bonding and sharing this experience with my fellow star dancer, and thank them for their support. I also look forward to the challenge of raising funds for an organization that has given so much to me, and I want to do my part to give back.

In honor of this milestone birthday, my fundraising goal is $40,000 — “40 for 40”!  I hope you follow me on my journey on our blog: www.redcrossdwosblog.org , on twitter @jweyers2 and VOTE for me!!! #DWOS14

See you on the dance floor!!

Dance Questions:

Describe your first dancing recollection. About how old were you and what was the occasion?  My first dance recollection was the dreaded grade school dances.  I have images of lots of pastel colored shirts, bracelets, and earrings, along with big bangs & all of us thinking we were so cool…..  Later in life, people may have caught me shaking my thing at a Lovemonkeys concert.

Who is your dream dance partner? I was really hoping I would have won our “Dance with Donald” last year!!

Who is your favorite dancer of all time on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and why?  My favorite professional dancer would be Derek Huff.  He seems to really know how to get the best out of his partners, and work with them to their fullest potential.

Why support the American Red Cross with your participation? I see the direct impact our programs and services provide to the members of the community and our amazing volunteers who help deliver the services. Being an employee of the Red Cross, I am always fundraising to support the organization, but this is something completely out of the box for me, but I look forward to the challenge.

Hobbies or passions: I love to travel, and two years ago I went on an 11 day mission trip to Swaziland, Africa. This trip was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I also like to get involved in the community, from attending, volunteering or being a part of the planning of local events. You can see me cruising on my 1970 Schwinn most weekends downtown or hitting up the Fox River Trail on my road bike.  I also enjoy live music! Some of my favorite local WI artists include: The Lovemonkeys, Rob Anthony, Keith Pulvermacher, Ryan McIntryre, and many others.

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Peta Murgatroyd to Judge American Red Cross “Dancing” Fundraiser

Pete and Donald

Photo Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC/Getty Images

Peta Murgatroyd, who teamed with Green Bay Packers legend Donald Driver to win Season 14 of ABC-TV’s Dancing with the Stars, will serve as a celebrity judge this February for Dancing with Our Stars 2014 for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin, presented by the Schneider National Foundation.  The event features 11 community members, known as “star dancers”, competing to raise the most money and take home the coveted Fundraising Mirror Ball Trophy.

“We’re thrilled to add Peta Murgatroyd to an already energetic and exciting event,” says Dancing with Our Stars coordinator Shawn Kiser. “Peta brings a tremendous amount of star power and will greatly enhance the program’s production and fundraising abilities.”

Murgatroyd joins fellow judges Chris Roth of WBAY-TV 2 and Nick Vitrano of 101 WIXX.  They will verbally critique and privately score each dance.  At the end of the night those scores will be combined to determine the winner of the Judges’ Choice Award.

Among the unique experiences connected to Murgatroyd’s appearance is the “Polka with Peta” in which someone attending the event will take center stage that night and perform the official Wisconsin state dance with the celebrity judge.

Dancing with Our Stars is now in its sixth 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.

Last year’s event raised nearly $370,000 for the local Red Cross.  This year’s participants are:

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Brian Bartel – Dad/Inventor

Rick & Susie Beverstein – Senior Vice President, AON (Rick)

Deb DeLeers – Attorney, Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Tammy Elliott – Morning News Anchor, WBAY-TV 2

Tracy Lemsky – Senior Vice President, Private Banking Group Manager, Associated Bank

Chris Lofgren – President/CEO, Schneider National

Jim Rivett – President, Arketype

Mike Spurlock – Partner, Spurlock, Runyan, Miller & Assoc., C.P.A.s

Stacy Struck – Regional Manager, Jack’s Maintenance

Jody Weyers – Director, Volunteer & Communications at American Red Cross

Donations can be made at this website: http://crowdrise.com/DWOSNEW/

Dancing with our Stars 2014 will take place Saturday, February 15th at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay. More event information can be found on the following Red Cross platforms:

Website: http://redcross.org/newisconsin

Dancing with our Stars blog: http://redcrossdwosblog.org

Facebook: http://facebook.com/NEWRedCross

Twitter: @NEWRedCross & #DWOS14 to join the conversation!

The Schneider National Foundation, Ameriprise, Arketype, Associated Bank, Bay Industries, Broadway Automotive, Cellcom, Festival Foods, Green Bay Packaging, Inc., the Green Bay Packers, Jack’s Maintenance, KI, Wisconsin Public Service Foundation, WBAY-TV, WIXX and the Green Bay Press-Gazette are proud sponsors of Dancing with our Stars 2014.

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 visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

We are at the Halfway Point!!!!

By DWOS 14 Dancer, Jody Weyers

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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

Jim & Therese are a Little Camera Shy…..

We stopped into Simply Ballroom last night to capture star dancer,  Jim Rivett & his dance partner Therese Clarke…. they were a little camera shy, not to reveal their top secret dance moves, but we succeeded in capturing part of their practice.

One thing is for sure…. FUN is a big part of their lessons! Jim needs your support on his quest to win the Fundraising Mirrorball Trophy.  VOTE here!!

The Man behind the Mirror Ball Winners

Terry Irwin Talks about Instructing Betina & Donald Driver in Ballroom Dancing

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Terry Irwin is like a proud father these days after Betina and Donald Driver drew rave reviews for their performances at the Fifth Annual “Dancing with Our Stars” for the American Red Cross of Northeast Wisconsin. Irwin, owner of TC Dance Club International in Appleton, coached the Drivers and also developed the choreography for their two routines. “Working with the Drivers was truly an amazing experience from a teacher’s point of view,” says Irwin. “Not only are they intelligent and athletic, they have the work ethic and stamina of top professional couples. We would take anywhere from 3 to 8 lessons in a row.  We already knew of Donald’s talents from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Betina’s raw, untapped abilities truly surprised me,” he said.

Terry teaching Betina and Donald a move for their rumba at his studio in Appleton.

Terry teaching Betina and Donald a move for their rumba at his studio in Appleton.

With 38 years of professional dance experience, including five U.S. Championships, Irwin knows talent when he sees it. “I had many lessons with Betina alone because of Donald’s schedule and would give her things to work on like Latin walks, body rhythms, or foot and ankle articulation, and low & behold, next lesson there would be a dramatic improvement,” he says. “I’ve trained several U.S. champions and the Drivers are right up there with the best I’ve ever trained.”

Betina Driver took home the Mirror Ball Fundraising Trophy for raising more than $155,000. As a dance couple, the Drivers earned the Judges’ Choice Award. Irwin’s time with the Drivers is something he will cherish forever. “Their playful nature and sense of humor made lesson times fly by. As their coach, I was inspired by their compassion, love of family, sense of community, spirituality, and open & caring nature. It was my pleasure and honor to be afforded the opportunity to work with this wonderful couple.”

To learn more about TC Dance Club International, visit their website: http://www.tcdanceclubwi.com