“Enthusiastic and involved” are two words that only begin to describe the force of nature known as alumna Sally Bjorkman '83. A spirited volunteer, her alumnae involvement with Alverno includes more than 20 years working as a volunteer assessor and participating in various alumnae committees, including work as a past president of the Alumnae Association. Today her mission is to encourage others to share of themselves and get involved.
Volunteering has always been important to Sally, but it was retirement in 2004 that put that interest into overdrive. Her current passion is the Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap, or MHBT, dance competition that occurs in Milwaukee in May. The Ballroom event involves local 5th and 6th graders from primarily low income schools in Milwaukee's central city. Milwaukee's Danceworks instructors provide tap and ballroom instruction twice a week for ten weeks, which lead up to a program-wide exhibition and competition at the Bradley Center.
The classes work to improve the kids’ attendance, academic performance, grades and behavior. They also work to teach problem solving and communication skills, and to instill the values of education and lifelong learning. Sound familiar?
Sally's connection to the group started when she met and became friends with Deborah Farris, Danceworks’ Executive Director. “What she's trying to do for children struck a chord with me,” remarked Sally. For Sally it touched on what she believes about lifelong learning and responsibility to local community, values that were fortified by her Alverno education. This new connection with Dancewoks involved Sally's participation as a volunteer for last year's event, but for this year she has bigger dreams. She would like to see Alverno alums have a real presence at the event in May. And she's willing to put her money where her mouth is, so to speak, by heading up an Alverno volunteer team.
The event in May, date to be determined, needs over 200 volunteers. The shifts for the event are either two or four hours and include jobs as varied as manning (or womaning as the case may be) the information or check-in tables, working as a green room attendant, or for the athletic, dashing around as an information runner. There are also ongoing opportunities to work with kids in the classroom.
“We [Alverno] are known more outside Milwaukee for our accomplishments than we are in the city,” comments Sally. She sees the Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap competition as a great opportunity for alums to contribute to the greater community and have fun. Being retired herself, she has a special call to fellow alumnae retirees: “Retired alums can have the joy of being connected to the community, because we have the energy, enthusiasm, and experience to share.” Take Sally up on this call. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for more information on Danceworks and the Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap event go to www.danceworksmke.org.