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<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Inspiring Others<br />

christine shigley,<br />

marysville high school<br />


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Key West Woman’s Club<br />

member, Dottie, shows<br />

BWW Editor Patti Samar<br />

a plaque the club received<br />

from Operation Smile<br />

from the editor<br />

O“One good deed begets another.” --Unknown<br />

And oh my goodness, have I been witness to that recently and Blue Water Woman<br />

magazine is so proud to be a part of a chain of events that is helping people help other<br />

people!<br />

This issue is dedicated to philanthropy...both philanthropy of the heart and<br />

philanthropy of the pocketbook.<br />

Cover gal Christine Shigley is the inspiration for this issue, but not just because she is so<br />

philanthropic in so many ways herself.<br />

Earlier this year, she created a true domino effect of good deeds<br />

begetting other good deeds.<br />

A high school teacher, Shigley first nominated a student for a<br />

Blue Water Young Woman of the Year award during the winter<br />

months. Her student, Jacque Rogers, was, indeed, honored at<br />

an awards ceremony in February. Sitting in the audience was<br />

Jonathan McCulloch, who attended to cheer on a colleague who<br />

was also being honored that night. He went home and told his<br />

daughter, a high school student, about Jacque and how she had<br />

helped other people by starting her own charity.<br />

His daughter, inspired by Jacque’s story, told two friends and<br />

they decided to start a charity of their own in order to help others.<br />

Their charitable organization, the Raising Hope Foundation,<br />

exists today because Christine Shigley took the time to nominate<br />

her student, who was then honored and whose story then inspired<br />

other young people to help others.<br />

Domino. Effect. I hope you enjoy reading their stories in this issue.<br />

This past spring, my husband and I went to Key West on vacation. We’d never been<br />

before and I was so excited to find, right on Duval Street, a beautiful Victorian mansion<br />

with a sign noting it is home of the Key West Woman’s Club. It was open for tours.<br />

I had to see it.<br />

Dottie, our lovely tour guide and a member of the club, told us about the history of the<br />

home and how the club came to own it. The purpose of the 200-member <strong>woman</strong>’s club<br />

is purely philanthropic. They conduct a number of fundraisers throughout the year and<br />

they provide grants to local nonprofit organziations and one international charity.<br />

Dottie was born in Great Britain and traveled all over the world before settling in<br />

Florida. Another member of the club on site that day had a similar international story to<br />

tell.<br />

What it told me, especially when reflecting on what happens in the Blue Water Area,<br />

is that women -- no matter where they were born, raised or end up settling -- are caring,<br />

compassionate philanthropically-inclined good and decent human beings who inspire one<br />

another to help others., both at home and afar.<br />

And if all of that goodness begetting other goodness isn’t the world’s biggest and best<br />

domino effect, then I don’t know what is.<br />

Peace,<br />

content<br />

christine shigley 4<br />

olivia may & megan mcculloch 6<br />

donna schwartz 8<br />

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volume 5, number 2 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,<br />

511 La Salle Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 5,000.<br />

Editor & Publisher: Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company<br />

Advertising: Patti Samar at 810-987-1256 or pjsamar@aol.com<br />

News releases can be emailed to pjsamar@aol.com<br />

Questions or comments?<br />

Call Blue Water Woman at 810-987-1256<br />

Mission: Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication<br />

for women living, working and playing<br />

in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.<br />

Its stories and features are written and designed<br />

to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.<br />

www.BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

© Blue Water Woman is the property<br />

of Patti Samar of The Write Company<br />

The Write Company is a writing, graphic design and marketing<br />

consultation firm. View our <strong>online</strong> portfolio at:<br />

www.TheWriteCompany.net<br />

Patti Samar<br />

Editor & Publisher<br />

Blue Water Woman<br />

2 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com

<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 3

passions<br />

christine shigley, marysville<br />

domino effect<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

4 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

Christine Shigley loves to run. It is good exercise. It clears her head. It is<br />

something she can do almost anytime, anywhere.<br />

So when the Marysville High School teacher heard from one of her<br />

running buddies that there were students at a Port Huron elementary<br />

school who wanted to participate in the school running club but couldn’t<br />

afford the proper shoes, she knew she needed to help.<br />

Why? Because rolling up her sleeves and helping others, recognizing<br />

others and just generally being an overall good person who cares for and<br />

contributes to her community through her donation of time and treasure<br />

is what Shigley is all about.<br />

So what started out as a one-time fund raiser to help students at<br />

Cleveland Elementary School turned into a full-blown nonprofit<br />

organization now known as the Starting Line Youth Running Fund<br />

(SLYRF).<br />

The SLYRF has a fund at the Community Foundation of St. Clair<br />

County and it has also become a legal nonprofit with a 501(c ) 3 status.<br />

“The Community Foundation was so helpful in getting us established,”<br />

said Shigley. “They were so welcoming. The 501(c ) 3 status allows us to<br />

apply for grants and conduct other fundraising.”<br />

Shigley is the president of the nonprofit and she is assisted by two close<br />

friends and fellow runners, Amy Meeker-Taylor, who is the assistant<br />

director of Camp Cavell, and Dawn Schweihofer, a teacher at Cleveland<br />

Elementary School who first shared with Shigley the plight of her in-need<br />

students.<br />

“The running community is just so generous,” said Shigley of the<br />

response they have received when appealing for donations to help sponsor<br />

youth runners in 5K races, or to help pay for shoes or other clothing.<br />

Shortly after SLYRF was established within the Community<br />

Foundation, the organization was one of the recipients of the monies<br />

raised at the annual “100 Women Who Care” event.<br />

“We received $5,000 that night,” said Shigley. “We were able to do a<br />

lot with that money. We were able to sponsor 500 kids. Every kid in a<br />

running club received entry into the Pi Day Run.”<br />

Additionally, they were able to purchase more shoes and clothing.<br />

The students who are helped by the SLYRF need to establish economic<br />

need in some way. “Basically, they need a principal’s signature,” she said.<br />

But the SLYRF is not the only organization that occupies Shigley’s<br />

energy, time and treasure. She is philanthropic in many ways as she<br />

volunteers for a wide range of charitable causes in the Blue Water Area and<br />

she makes time for her family, her friends and to champion other women,<br />

having nominated two recipients of the Blue Water Woman of the Year<br />

Awards in the past five years.<br />

Her most recent nomination of a student has inspired other students to<br />

establish a local charitable organization to help other people, as well, thus<br />

causing a domino effect of goodwill in the community.<br />

“The thing is, the women I’ve nominated are not recognition-seeking<br />

people,” she said. “The time you take to do the nomination is nothing<br />

compared to the time they give back to the community. And I just<br />

look at nominating someone and think, ‘Why wouldn’t you do that?’<br />

Completing the nomination does not take much time out of your day<br />

when you think about the time they take to help everybody else.”<br />

Shigley’s volunteer efforts in the community have not gone unnoticed.<br />

Earlier this year she was nominated for and named the recipient of<br />

a Distinguished Teacher Award by the St. Clair County Regional<br />

Educational Service Agency (RESA).<br />

She also received a grant from the Marysville Fund of the Community<br />

Foundation. The monies are to be used to make improvements in her<br />

classroom.<br />

Shigley also defers the limelight to others when attention is paid to her in<br />

recognition of her achievements. “It’s important to say that none of what I<br />

do, I do alone,” she said.

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<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 5

passions<br />

megan mcculloch & olivia may<br />

marysville high school<br />

helping others<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

The best thing that can come from doing a good deed is to see it inspire<br />

another good deed, thus causing a domino effect of good deeds.<br />

That is how the Raising Hope Foundation, established by Marysville<br />

High School students Olivia May, 15, and Megan McCulloch, 14, came<br />

to be.<br />

According to McCulloch, the purpose of their charitable organization is<br />

fairly simple: help others.<br />

“We are creating hope for those in need through community outreach,”<br />

said McCulloch.<br />

The young women were inspired to establish their own organization after<br />

McCulloch’s father, Jonathan, attended the <strong>2016</strong> Blue Water Woman of<br />

the Year Awards in February. He went home and told his daughter about<br />

Jacque Rogers, who had been named the Blue Water Young Woman of the<br />

Year during her senior year in high school.<br />

Rogers was nominated by Christine Shigley, one of her teachers at<br />

Marysville High School, after Rogers had established her own charitable<br />

organization and had raised almost $10,000 to help families in need over<br />

the holiday season.<br />

Megan McCulloch decided that she, too, could do something to help<br />

people. She then recruited May and their friend Robbie West to help her<br />

figure out how they could begin an organized effort to help people in need.<br />

The two young women are currently doing research and trying to<br />

determine what kind of fundraisers they might be able to organize. They<br />

have discussed the possibility of putting on a 5K run, a golf outing or<br />

something else that would draw a large number of people.<br />

“We want to put on one big event a year to raise money so that we can<br />

make a big impact on our community,” said McCulloch.<br />

They have already begun helping others.<br />

Both young women volunteered at the St. Clair County Community<br />

Resource Fair held in the spring at St. Clair County Community College.<br />

The day-long event brings together under one roof a wide range of<br />

community support services that are available to individuals and families<br />

that are struggling financially, who are homeless or at-risk of becoming<br />

6 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

homeless.<br />

Through that experience, McCulloch and May feel they have already<br />

benefitted from their efforts.<br />

“I learned that other people don’t have the same options that I have<br />

in life,” said May. “I’d like to continue helping others have the options I<br />

have.”<br />

“And I learned you shouldn’t judge others,” said McCulloch. “When we<br />

volunteered, we were just helping them live life.”<br />

“Going to the Community Resource Fair was a really big eye opener,”<br />

said May.<br />

McCulloch agreed. “It was a really big eye opener when you see how<br />

many people need help,” she said.<br />

Though both of them are involved in a wide variety of other activities<br />

at school – band, track, student council, basketball and volleyball fill their<br />

after school hours – they continue to meet at least once a week to discuss<br />

how they wish to move forward with their charitable ideas.<br />

The two of them agree that their solid friendship has helped them as<br />

they’ve worked toward achieving their goal of establishing a nonprofit<br />

organization.<br />

Both young women are already interested in pursuing careers in the<br />

medical field and are planning to attend college to achieve their goals.<br />

However, that has not discouraged them from tackling the establishment of<br />

a charitable organization at this juncture in their lives because they see their<br />

charitable organization continuing well past their high school careers.<br />

“At that point, we’d like to get younger students involved,” said<br />

McCulloch.<br />

“We want other kids to experience what we are experiencing,” said May.<br />

“We’ve already discussed it and we’d like to keep it going through college<br />

because we know we can do great things together. It is something that we<br />

could even hand down to our kids.”<br />

Olivia May is the daughter of Amy and Rob May of Port Huron and Megan<br />

McCulloch is the daughter of Rebecca Compase of Fort Gratiot and Jonathan<br />

and Corey McCulloch of St. Clair.

You are invited to attend<br />

a Fifth Anniversary Party/<br />

Women’s Networking Event<br />

for Blue Water Woman<br />

the Blue Water Area’s premiere magazine for women<br />

Thursday, October 6, <strong>2016</strong><br />

5 to 7 p.m.<br />

McMorran Lounge<br />

Enter through McMorran Theater<br />

Come see our rebranding!<br />

Learn about our Next. Big. Thing. (It’s Really Big!)<br />

Vendor tables available to advertisers!<br />

Call today to reserve your space...first come, first served!<br />

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Please RSVP to: pjsamar@aol.com or 810-987-1256<br />

Door prizes to include spa gift certificates • Open bar & hors d’oeuvres<br />

Blue Water Woman is a publication of The Write Company, owned by Patti Samar

passions<br />

donna schwartz, port huron<br />

8 <strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com<br />

altruistic<br />

concern<br />

by Patti Samar<br />

Fifty years ago this <strong>summer</strong>, a native of Detroit moved to Port Huron to raise<br />

her family.<br />

And boy oh boy, is Port Huron ever so fortunate that she did.<br />

Retired since 1999, Donna Schwartz spent her working life and her retirement<br />

years giving back to the community in a wide variety of ways.<br />

“One definition of philanthropy is ‘the altruistic concern for human welfare<br />

and advancement,’” said Schwartz. “I think that definition fits me. There are two<br />

areas of interest for me: the arts and social programs and that’s mostly where we<br />

give our time and our treasure.”<br />

When she married, she and her husband, David, purchased a home on<br />

the south side of Port Huron in the 1980s. They quickly became involved in<br />

community organizations and programs that addressed the needs of many south<br />

side residents.<br />

“We were charter members of the Blue Water Citizens Against Crime,” she<br />

said, noting it eventually combined with another organization and is now known<br />

as the Southside Coalition. “We did all of these walks to get rid of the drug<br />

dealers who were coming to the neighborhood. And we did it.” She remains<br />

involved in the organization today and serves as its treasurer.<br />

The organization puts on two events annually that she is proud to be a part of:<br />

the Southside Music Fest and the National Night Out held annually in August.<br />

“We got involved because we had an investment in this neighborhood,” she<br />

said of her involvement in the group. “I go to those events and I look out there<br />

and there are people from all races, of all ages, and from all socio-economic<br />

groups enjoying themselves and I think, ‘This is the way the world should be.’”<br />

She also spent 15 years volunteering at the Peoples Clinic for Better Health. “I<br />

never went there and came out of there without feeling like I’d done something<br />

worthwhile,” she said of the time spent volunteering and helping out at the clinic.<br />

For most of the past decade, Schwartz has volunteered as a member of the<br />

Port Huron Housing Commission. “That is a joy,” she said of the work the<br />

commission does. “I’m so proud of what they are doing. It’s about helping the<br />

residents of our public housing better themselves. The goal is to teach people to<br />

be self-sufficient.”<br />

Schwartz noted that her true passion is in developing relationships with people.<br />

That can be evidenced by the six children she raised with her husband and a<br />

number of “adopted” children they welcomed into their family along the way.<br />

Schwartz, a grandmother to 16 who are scattered across Michigan and beyond,<br />

noted that she is proud of the special bond she has been able to develop with each<br />

and every one – but that did not come about naturally.<br />

“There came a point years ago where I looked around and thought, ‘I don’t<br />

even know these kids and they don’t know me,’” she said. So, instead of giving<br />

the grandchildren “things” for their birthdays, she and her husband began giving<br />

them shared “experiences” each year. For example, the gift of tickets to see an ice<br />

show or a concert with grandma and grandpa in tow.<br />

“That was the best idea we ever had,” she said. “We have unique and special<br />

memories with every grandchild. I feel totally in touch with each of them. It’s so<br />

great because they are all healthy and loved and wanted.”<br />

Schwartz is also passionate about developing relationships with other women<br />

and has gone out of her way to develop friendships and also to mentor young<br />

women throughout the years.<br />

For the last 13 years of her working life, Schwartz served as the executive<br />

director of the then-St. Clair County-based Michigan Waterways Girl Scout<br />

Council. While there she saw first-hand how important role models were for<br />

young women.<br />

“I loved the mission of the Girl Scouts,” she said. “It was so easy for me because<br />

of the great programs we were doing.”<br />

Schwartz and her husband pack a lot into any given year between celebrating<br />

the birthdays of 16 grandchildren and traveling around the world on a regular<br />

basis. “I’ve had a very supportive husband,” Schwartz said, noting that they’ve<br />

tackled many of their volunteer endeavors and hobbies – they both took up<br />

playing an instrument after retirement and perform regularly in four bands<br />

– together. “I just appreciate that he has been so supportive of me.”<br />

All in all, giving of her time and treasure has helped Schwartz appreciate<br />

everything she has in life.<br />

“I appreciate what we have and our health and I’m a very happy person.”

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<strong>summer</strong> <strong>2016</strong> BlueWaterWoman.com 9

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