St. Norbert Students “Stop” the Music to Raise Funds for Red Cross

St. Norbert’s “Groups on Campus” raised funds to help the American Red Cross’s relief effort in Japan.  Participating groups included:  Beyond Borders, Peace and Justice Center, Japan Club and the Chinese Student Association

 There was competition between offices on the St. Norbert campus.  Funds were raised “door to door,”  and people paid to have the song “Friday” stop. This effort raised more than $2,000.  Troy Wiesner (pictured above), who graduated in May, presented the Red Cross with the proceeds from the fundraiser.

Staff Spotlight: Carla Lee

Carla brings many talents to her new position as the Health & Safety Community Services / Authorized Provider Coordinator; particularly her extensive experience in event coordination through the Girl Scouts of America and Midwest Sports Events.  She is also a talented photographer and freelance writer for a local newspaper.  She maintains a website to showcase her work at carlathewriter.com.   

Carla has been a serious athlete since her time at St Norbert College, where she ran track and still managed to graduate Summa Cum Laude.  She enjoys going to the Y, long bike rides, and triathlons.  “Sports in general are a big part of my life, and I would not be me without them,” says Carla. 

Even with her busy schedule, Carla still manages to find time for family. “I recently got married in September to my husband Dave who has three children, Josh, Emily and Angelika.  It’s been a fun ride so far and I’m super glad we found each other.”      

Carla’s love of learning and drive to succeed make her a welcome addition to the Red Cross family.  “What has really been nice is the support of everybody here.  When I ask a question, they are more than willing to answer it so the transition has been smooth.”

Miss Wisconsin is a Red Cross Volunteer

l-r) Cassandra Frankel, Red Cross volunteer; Kimberly Sawyer, Red Cross volunteer & Miss Wisconsin; Lori Lewis, Midwest Communications; WNCY Radio personality Charli McKenzie. Photo Credit: Mauree Childress, Development Director, Lakeland Chapter

Tuesday, July 20, 2010 —

Whether Green Bay’s Lakeland Chapter of the American Red Cross is organizing a blood drive or sponsoring a golf tournament, the chapter can count on the help of Kimberly Sawyer, Miss Wisconsin 2010.

A Red Cross volunteer since college, Sawyer says she “likes to help people and help them help others.”Originally Sawyer came to the Red Cross as a blood donor. One of her cousins had leukemia at a young age and several blood transfusions saved his life, so when St. Norbert College held a blood drive Sawyer donated blood for the first time. She started talking to Red Cross staff and other donors, and, in her own words, “fell in love with the Red Cross and the wonderful things it does.”

Now a college graduate and a year-round volunteer, Sawyer has expanded the time she spends helping the Red Cross fulfill its mission to provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. “All of us are so proud of Kimberly’s passion and her gift to give back,” says Red Cross communications director Barbara Behling. “This gal lives by what she says.”

When the chapter held a Dance with Our Stars fundraiser, Sawyer was there to help raise funds and awareness of Red Cross programs and services. Participating in the event took a lot of time—dancers received professional lessons, trained with their partners and then performed for a sell-out crowd.

Six months ago when the Haiti earthquake hit Sawyer was one of the first to offer to help with local fundraising efforts. The chapter partnered with the Festival Foods grocery store chain and Midwest Communications to have a radio, remote and in-store blitz. Sawyer tirelessly stood in Festival Foods stores, a smile on her face and a donation bucket in her hand.

Now Miss Wisconsin and on her way to the Miss America Pageant, Sawyer is able to do so much more than personally volunteer. She has the opportunity to inspire others to follow in her footsteps—and that is exactly what she is doing.

It is no surprise that Sawyer’s Miss Wisconsin Platform is volunteerism. She is encouraging people to volunteer, and to find volunteer opportunities that fit each person’s individual interests and goals. “It is imperative that each individual volunteer find a ‘Service for the Soul,’ a cause or organization that they can be passionate about,” Sawyer says.

She adds, “Even in tough economic times, we can build bridges, make a difference ancontribute to the character of our communities one volunteer at a time.”

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies nearly half of the nation’s blood; teaches lifesaving skills; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at http://blog.redcross.org.

Miss Wisconsin enjoys softball, pageants and serving others

BY ERIN CROWLEY • of The Northwestern • June 21, 2010

Photo by Jeannette Merten/for The Northwestern.

Playing softball is not the most common way one would think best to prepare for the Miss Wisconsin Scholarship Pageant, but it worked for Kimberly Sawyer.

“I wanted to leave it all out on the stage just like I always said I’d left everything on the field when I played softball,” Sawyer said Sunday, a day after being crowned Miss Wisconsin 2010 at the scholarship pageant at the Alberta Kimball Auditorium in Oshkosh.

Sawyer, an Egg Harbor native, represents the Green Bay Area and is a 2009 graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance.

As a member of the St. Norbert College softball team and other athletic teams throughout her life, Sawyer said that sports and scholarship pageants have a lot of the same principals including leadership and teamwork.

“I’ve learned so much from sports that have carried over into what I do now and I’m looking forward to sharing that with girls and saying, ‘Hey, you can be a sporty girl and a girly girl at the same time’… I think it’s good to be well-rounded,” she said.

A dedicated volunteer for the Red Cross organization, Sawyer is also looking forward to helping others find their passion for volunteerism across the state.
“I cannot wait to just go out and encourage that and help people find their passion for service like I have with the Red Cross,” Sawyer said.

Another passion for Sawyer is music. In high school, she performed at the statewide solo-ensemble competition and dressed like a renaissance-era queen to sing in the madrigal ensemble.

“So I have a little practice wearing a crown,” she said jokingly.

This passion for music is what initially pushed her into getting involved with the Miss America organization. For her talent, Sawyer sang a classic opera song about a very sad woman.

Photo by Anthony Wahl

“I know (opera) is really technical difficult and it usually resonates with the judges really well especially if you can put a lot of emotion into it,” she said. “So I just tried to pick a song that did have a lot of emotion. For me it was a very sad song so for me that was really hard because I’m not usually a very sad person.”

While Sawyer’s background in sports and music prepared her to compete for the Miss Wisconsin title, there was one moment in the competition that threw her for a loop.

Sawyer’s younger sister, Katie, representing the South Central area of the state, was also competing this weekend. As fate would have it, the two were the last remaining contestants on stage at the end of the night.

“When it was down to the two of us once they called miss Kenosha out as the second-runner up, I said, ‘You have to be kidding me, there is no way,’” she said. “I just held her hands and said, ‘Whatever happens, you know I love you and we’re going to go from here and we’re both winners now.’”

Sitting in the audience was Kimberly and Katie’s father, John Sawyer along with their mother, Jackie.

There wasn’t any worry about how his one daughter would take the news of defeat, John Sawyer said. “We’re a pretty close family and everybody roots for each other,” he said.

Once it registered that Kimberly won, her mind immediately went blank.

“I was in total shock,” Sawyer said. “I felt like it was a dream sequence from a movie so I don’t even really remember a whole lot about what happened I’m looking forward to watching the video and reliving the whole experience.”

Over the next year, Kimberly will take all that she’s learned from her preparation and experience at the Miss Wisconsin pageant as she makes appearances across the state.

“I just want to talk to all those wonderful people (across the state) and show them that Miss Wisconsin is a real down-to-earth girl…and likes to help people and help them help others,” she said.

In January, Kimberly will go on to represent the state at the 2011 Miss America Pageant. While making the top 15 would be a dream come true for her, upholding the values of the organization is what truly matters.

“I want to uphold what the Miss America organization is really about because I truly believe in it and I want to do it for my other contestants too because I am a representative of them now and I want to make them proud so that’s more what I’m hopeful for.”