BLR Play It Forward Tag

p(L)aying forward feels so good

It’s Thursday July 13th now, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around what an incredibly powerful BLR Play It Forward weekend we had just a few days ago. It is always the most bittersweet day of my year.

I will have a full post coming soon with some of my favorite images, but in the meantime here are a couple that show what community and coming together to do something good looks like:

All hands in. BLR Play It Forward 2017

BLR Play It Forward Community Kick Wall Gift

Being a part of something bigger than myself that means something to so many people is by a landslide the best work I have ever done. Love, joy, and time together to celebrate memories is the most I could ever ask for in this life, and I’ve been lucky enough to experience that for 6 years in a row now. This is my team. The rest of the people who support us were all there too, just a few feet away. I’m always so honored to be in such wonderful company.

Thank you.

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #PlayForwardGiveBack

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a road trip is brewing…

I’m about to shout “Vermont or Bust!” and do what I love more than anything in the summer; ROAD TRIP!

I will get to see these little smiling nugget faces:

Blue Lollipop Tongues

Blue Lollipop Tongues

…who are actually not so little anymore, I will get to hug my family & lots of friends, I will get to have long relaxing mornings at my favorite breakfast diner and most importantly, I will get to give back to the people and the place that have given so much to me.

I hope you will join me with all your windows down, too, celebrating everyday you have in the sunshine over the next couple of weeks. Watch for lots of good stories from the road, coming soon!

#TheBlueLollipopProject #Travel #PlayForwardGiveBack

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BLR PLAY IT FORWARD 2016 KICKS OFF TONIGHT!

Here we go year #5!

Doing good feels good with all the bad and sad news in the world. Tonight we will kick off our 5th Annual event starting at 7pm at Ramunto’s with our Welcome Back Party:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

Ramunto’s will donate 10% of all sales from anyone joining us, back to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund! Come one and all for craft beer, wine, great pizza, lots of specials and fun! 7pm until ?

Tomorrow we will award scholarship funds, play some soccer, the kiddos will do a fun run at halftime of the game, and we will have Celebration Cocktails to wrap the weekend at Pangaea Lounge. Pangaea will also donate 10% of all sales from anyone who joins to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund. They’ve whipped up a special menu of BLR inspired craft cocktails, too. Yum…

ALL ARE WELCOME FOR EVERYTHING! Bring yourself, your lover, your friends, your dog, your kiddo’s, your former coach, neighbor, grandparents, and whoever else you can think of. THIS IS A COMMUNITY EVENT. (Rain or shine!)

Three cheers for the Bennington Banner and writer Adam Samrov who put out this article about our event, today. Thank you, Adam!

Want to get involved, donate/sponsor, or have a question? Great! See event info. here, or call/email Diane:

804.339.6514

Diane(@)BlueLollipopRoad.com

See you this weekend!

#RememberCelebrateLive #StrongMojo #PlayForwardGiveBack

 

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get your give on

Hello, Monday!

Today is May 9th. This means exactly 2 months until our 5th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event & BLR Memorial Travel Scholarship award, July 9 2016 weekend. (FIVE years!)

We’ve been doing good on our Remember, Celebrate, Live promise since 2012 and couldn’t be more proud. We love playing forward to give back.

Inspired by us? Well thank you…but we wouldn’t be able to do it without YOU! So how do you get involved?

1.) If you’re MAU Women’s Soccer Alumni, you can register here for just a $35 donation to play in the game, Saturday July 9th at Willow Park in Bennington, VT. 100% of registration fees go to the scholarship fund.

2.) Get an event shirt for yourself or your kiddos here. Shirts come in blue and pink, youth and adult sizes.  Just 20 buckaroos donation! 100% of that loot goes straight to the scholarship fund.

3.) Rally your friends, family, neighbors, former teachers, coaches, strangers on the street, or anyone else you like, to come join/hang out/socialize for our Friday night (July 8th) open Welcome Back Party, and Saturday day and night (July 9th) Alumni game, scholarship announcement, and Celebration Cocktails.

4.) Sponsor! We’d love any sponsorships, and promise if you do, we will give shout-outs and love on all print & social media, along with on the BLR website here and more. (We’d especially like to to find a jersey & t-shirt sponsor this year to cover that huge cost. Please call 804.339.6514 or Diane(@)BlueLollipopRoad.com if you’d like to sponsor.)

5.) Donate! 100% of all donations go straight to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Travel Scholarship Fund. This fund supports deserving high school students to travel and do community service work. (Wha?! Yep, students doing good while getting a chance to see outside their everyday world. Exposure! Service! Character building! Building a badass next generation! Super awesomeness:)

If you’re a regular reader or BLR follower, you obviously know this Blue Lollipop Road is my life, my passion, my everything, and Play It Forward is by far the work I’m most proud of. I can’t do it alone, so I present a challenge to you readers who I know and strangers I don’t:

Donate $5 now! 

I figure $5  for 5 years of playing forward so we can give back is not too much to ask. Everyone can afford 5 big ones. Won’t you support what we are doing? Click here to donate through PayPal, it is secure, easy, (and dare I say, fun?), or send a check made payable to:
Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund
PO Box 34661
Charlotte, NC 28234

…or

…simply pass this post on! My Christmas wish is that some one, some where, some day, who’s big time, will notice what we are doing and say “Hey! You are spectacular BLR Play It Forward! Here’s some ginormous media and/or a million bucks for your scholarship fund! What you’re doing with your event & scholarship fund is like…totally awesome!”

(Hey- it could happen. It WILL happen.)

So won’t you send some love and spread the love? Oh how important it is, to…

Remember where you came from.

Celebrate the memories and time you have have together.

Live like today is the day.

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

BLR Play It Forward

Image

Boom-chicka-boom!

Together we can do so much good.

#RememberCelebrateLive #GetInspired #TodayIsTheDay

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go get ’em, girls!

I feel like such a proud Mamma today.

Long ago I hired a mousey, quiet, seemingly timid college kid named Crystal to work for me. I saw something special in her I knew for sure most people missed. In the 10+ years since then, I’ve watched her do amazing work in the communities she’s lived in and grow into this strong, intelligent woman who knows exactly who she is. She’s this perfect mix of sweet, kind, and silly, but serious and driven too. One of those watch out, you’ll never see me coming in all my awesomeness, but I’m going to continue changing the world into more of a positive place kind of people. She posted something on Facebook this morning about her new adventures on the west coast and a new job she’s starting. She decided she wanted to move there, made a plan and just did it. No surprise she’s already “making it”- she believes in herself and goes for it. Love that girl and her spirit. It has been an honor to tell her potential employers over the years they’d be fools not to hire her because she’s the best.

I got an email today from one of my BLR Play It Forward year #1 scholarship winners, Raheema. She graduated in June and told me she was going to SUNY Cortland in the fall. She’ll be majoring in athletic training, and doing indoor & outdoor track. Though I’ve only seen her in person a couple times since 2012, I can sense how much she’s grown and I have no doubt she will do amazing things. According to my hometown Mount Anthony Union High School 2015 yearbook, she’s Most unforgettable:

Unforgettable Raheemah

I agree! Another person I’ve been lucky enough to come across who embodies that undeniable zest for life that always makes everyone she meets, smile.

Then there comes other BLR Memorial Scholarship winners Mercedes Chen & Jami Mathers who came bounding into Willow Park last month for our Alumni Soccer Game portion of BLR Play It Forward, 2015 – with big grins, words of thanks, and gifts for me from their trips they took with their earned scholarship funds:

BLR girls

Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend but a few seconds with them as I was running around trying to make sure to cover all my event organizer bases, but I could feel from their thanks, and see from their excited faces in the short time we had together- their lives are never going to be the same. They’ve seen new parts of the world and new parts of themselves. That was precisely my hope, my biggest goal and dream when starting the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Life gets crazy, It’s not always easy, there are good times and bad, and you wonder if you’re ever doing anything right. Then days like today happen and you truly feel the gift that it was indeed possible you made a positive difference in someones life. This is a beautiful feeling.

I’m so proud of these young ladies, so thankful to all the ladies in my life, (some still on this earth, and some in  other places), who’ve inspired and supported me always. I can’t wait to do more to give back for all that’s been given to me.

#Unforgettable #PlayForwardGiveBack #Believe

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rolling with the mojo

I should add “can take photos while driving” to my resume.

Ok- maybe not.

Wouldn’t you know it, right after I wrote this yesterday, about my Mojo Warrior friend, I pulled onto the street and right behind this license plate!

Street Mojo

If you’ve been around the land of Blue Lollipop Road, like- ever, you know that Mojo is is my jam, the magic, the bomb. It’s even tattooed on my body:

Blue Lollipop Tattoo

…so imagine my happy surprise to drive right behind that car. I never spotted a plate like that in all my years as a road warrior. (And I spent a lot of years on the road!)

Pure coincidence? Irony? Meant to be? Hmmm…

I’ve been talking a lot about Mojo flowing over the past month, for many reasons and especially after our awesomely successful 4th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event. Indeed it is my friends. Let it flow. Someone is buzzing around to remind us that Mojo always wins.

#StrongMojo #Signs #GameOn

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playing it forward with forever friends

Here we are a week after BLR Play It Forward 2015 weekend. Thinking about our time together makes me smile. As I work on page updates, stories about what happened during our event, get photos from our photographer, etc. I wanted to share this one:

Good old friends

This is one of the only 2 photos I managed to get during our alumni game time. Things were so busy it was a blur, but I had to grab my friend Kate Emma right after the game while we were nice and sweaty to get a quick shot. Kate Emma suggested the idea of an alumni game when I saw her for the first time in years during the fall of 2011. I’m so glad she did. I took that idea and ran, and now 4 years later (with a lot of help from people like her to make it all happen), we have this amazing annual event that’s done so much to bring our hometown community together. People like Kate Emma mean the world to me. The ones you grow up with know you, they get you, and they love you in a way like no other friends. There’s a unique bond with old pals like Kate Emma that never go away even if our lives run in hundreds of different directions. I feel pretty darn lucky to have such a large core group of hometown ladies who support and love me so much.

Thank you Kate Emma, and to all of my girlfriends from MAU for helping to make my Vermont time each summer so special.

More Play It Forward 2015 wrap coming soon!

#Community #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojoForever

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blr play it forward 2014 memorial scholarship winner essay

Jami Mathers was our memorial scholarship fund student winner last summer:

Blue Lollipop Road Travel Scholarship Fund

We were only, um- completely jealous when we found out she was off to Italy with her awarded funds for her adventure during this school year. Words from her trip:

Day 1

Upon arriving in Milan, my group had an extra day to discover Italy. We first drove to Lake Maggoire for the best view of the Alps in all of Italy. The town surrounding the lake was small and cute. The day was absolutely gorgeous. We had free time to walk around the petite shops and relax by the lake. It wasn’t long before we were back on the tour bus and driving to our hotel in Punta Sabbioni or Tranchetto.

Day 2

In the morning, we took a boat over to the mainland of Venice and arrived at a factory where we saw a glassblowing demonstration. The art of it is purely amazing. Every different form and style of Venetian glass is divine and sparkles with beauty.

After the demonstration, we took a guided tour around the entire city. We walked through the shops on the Rialto Bridge, rode a gondola on and through the Grand Canal and lastly, we visited the Bridge of Sighs. Once the tour was over, we had time in Saint Mark’s Square to roam. I chose to see the Museo Correr and the Archeological Museum. Both buildings were remarkably beautiful, especially the Museo Correr. The entire building is made with naturally colored marble, making the walls look as if they were elaborately painted.

There is more to come, and yet I’m already in love.

Day 3

In the morning we drove five hours to arrive in the city of Florence. Today, I accessed the Accademia or the Uffizi where the architecture was phenomenal. Afterwards, we walked to a local leatherworks showroom where we received a demonstration on leather in Tuscany. I’ve always loved the smell of leather, but true Italian leather beats it all.

When we had lunch today, the food was heavenly. I wanted more and more of everything; it all looked so good.

I ended the day by sitting in the main square, watching the sun go down with a cup of gelato in my hand, ending another beautiful day.

Day 4

Today, I was in Pisa. I love the area around the Cathedral, Baptistery and the Leaning Tower. We first entered the Cathedral and then made our way next door to the Baptistery. The Baptistery is the largest in the world and is the only Baptistery in the world that is spherical. Every day at noon, the owner comes in and sings where her words are echoed twelve times. We arrived at noon. The complete overwhelming silence in the Baptistery as the owner sang was utterly chilling yet beautiful.

The Leaning Tower was next in line. I lay in the grass as I ate yet another gelato and beheld the tower’s glamourous imperfection.

After leaving Pisa, we had dinner back in Tuscany. The restaurant overlooked the valley as the sun set.

Day 5

Today, I spent another evening in Florence to see the Duomo and the Statue of David. Each was a fabulous work of art in themselves.

Day 6

By mid-afternoon, we arrived in Assisi. I didn’t think that I’d like Assisi, but once we arrived, I don’t like I ever want to leave. It is the exact image you get in your mind when you picture Italy; it is completely picturesque. I haven’t been here long, and I’m already so completely in love with Assisi.

We visited the Basilica of St. Francis and just like the town, every aspect of it was unexplainably gorgeous.

 Afterwards, we hiked up to the top of the town where a rather large castle rest. Looking out into the distance, you see magnificent gentleman farms for miles, while surrounded by mountains.

Day 7

Today, we explored the ruins of Pompeii. It’s no doubt that tourists and visitors are reminded of the tragedy that took place long ago as Mount Vesuvius lurks in the background. When the volcano erupted, it not only destroyed an entire town, but it also practically mummified the residents. Today, you can see them perfectly preserved in clay moldings. When you see their last moments, you often find yourself filled with compassion yet curiosity. They make you realize exactly how valuable a single second is in life. They make you reflect upon your life as a whole.

After the tour of the Pompeii, we saw a cameo demonstration outside of the ruins. Once done shopping or souvenirs, we transferred over to the other side of the island in the Sorrento Region. The Mediterranean Sea was located directly behind our hotel. Tonight, we walked around and relaxed by the beach.

Day 8

After breakfast, we took a boat over to the island of Capri. Then, we took an island boat tour around the entire island of Capri. Everything is completely picturesque.

Afterwards, we took a trolley up to Capri Town where we went to a perfume factory and visited the “Garden of Augustus”. At the garden, I saw great views down on the Faraglioni Rocks. I love everything about Capri; it doesn’t matter which winding street you go down, there will always be a delicious fragrance in the air or an amazing view to the side.

Once the tour was over, we took the trolley back down to the lower level of Capri. Then, I relaxed by the sea as I ate my billionth cup of gelato. I wish I could stay here forever. Tomorrow is nearly here and I don’t want to leave.

Day 9

After leaving Capri yesterday, we drove to Rome that evening and checked into our hotel where we then ate dinner.

We had to wake up early this morning to go to the Vatican, because the Pope was coming to the country for a meeting. We walked through the Vatican Museums and were the very last group to enter the Sistine Chapel. The few minutes you have in the Chapel are completely silent and entirely overwhelmed with peace. It feels as if all the problems in the world have never seemed to exist.

Once out of the Chapel, we went to St. Peter’s Square, but the Pope had already shut down the Basilica. We then walked to the Colosseum and through the Roman Forum. From there, we visited the Spanish Steps and the Piazza Navona via the Pantheon.

I ended my last night in Italy eating gelato next to the Trevi Fountain. It seems as though every part of my trip was dream.

By day 2 she was in love, by day 7 she was realizing exactly how valuable a single second is in life, and by day 8 she felt like she didn’t want to leave. Ahhh- This is why we do this! If I know anything for sure, I know Jami will now dream even bigger, live even better, and be inspired to do even more than she already imagined was possible!

We don’t just have an event, we bring people together. We don’t just give money to students, we provide the opportunity to open minds and change perspective. We don’t just think travel/exploring something new has the power to change a life for the better, we know it does.

Today is Friday July 10, 2015 and we are about to kick off our 4th Annual Event. I can’t believe it has been 4 years. I am so proud of all of our scholarship winners like Jami, and I am so thankful for every last person who helps, plan, participate, donate, and execute every detail to make this all happen. Play It Forward is powerful. It means something big. I am thrilled to know we will be doing this for many years to come. There are so many amazing people to honor, so many happy memories to celebrate and so many young people to support in chasing all that’s possible.

Thank you for sharing, Jami! We hope you will stay inspired, dream big, and continue to work hard believing in everything.

Hope to see everyone in the community out joining us for fun and doing good this weekend! 

#PlayForwardGiveBack #Inspired #Travel

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time to get your soccer on!

Calling all MAU Women’s Alumni! We are just one month away from our Annual BLR Play It Forward event. Time to register is now!

Click here and get your name in the mix of hometown fun & doing good. We want YOU!

A perfect time of year to be inspired by the Women’s World Cup:

BLR PLay It Forward 2015

July 11th

2pm

Willow Park Fields

Bennington, VT

Be there!

BLR Play It Forward 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2012

Remember. Celebrate. Live.

#BLRPlayItForward #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo

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