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A PIECE OF BROOKE'S STORY

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This week we have Brooke Kranz in the hot seat as she explains a bit about who she is, what makes her wake up in the morning, and what motivates her to be the compassionate person that she is. She is a dedicated member of Kappa Kappa Gamma and has been heavily involved in some awesome, worthwhile causes. Thanks for sharing, Brooke!

 

WHAT ARE YOU UP TO RIGHT NOW?

I am currently finishing up my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Bowling Green State University for Graphic Design. I am getting my portfolio and self-identity system together so that I can begin the search for jobs once I graduate in May. Outside of design, I am the Co-Chair of Dance Marathon at BGSU’s event called Bike for Tikes. This event is a 180 mile bike ride from Cincinnati to Bowling Green to raise money and awareness for the Children’s Miracle Network. This ride is March 31-April 3, so I am currently finishing up the planning of the ride.

DESCRIBE HOW YOU REPRESENT THE PERSONALITY TRAIT COMPASSIONATE.

I donate a lot of my time to organizations and non-profits as much as I can. I am fortunate to have good health and a great support system. I want to give back to others who are not as fortunate by donating my time, talents, and voice to a cause.

HOW DO YOU IMPACT OTHERS WITH A COMPASSIONATE PERSONALITY ON A DAILY BASIS?

I strive to be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody. You have no idea what a meaningful ‘How are you?’ can mean to someone instead of a simple ‘hi.’ Your kindness or words of encouragement can mean more to someone that you may even know. Just lending someone five minutes out of your day can make his or her day. I try my best to take interest in other people’s life, because who knows, you may become passionate about something they are passionate about also.

WHERE DID YOUR PASSION FOR SERVICE START?

I have always been a philanthropic person, mostly due to the community that I grew up in. I owe a lot of who I am to the town I grew up in. I learned hard work, compassion, and service from my small farm town community, Shelby Ohio. Growing up running around the farm I learned what hard work is and how I have to work for everything I want and to give it my 100%, no matter what I am doing. My town is a small, tight-knit community because of the struggle that my town has overcome together. When I was going into my eighth grade year, a natural disaster struck the community and about half the town was under water, including the football field, the middle school, elementary school, businesses, and many homes across the town. I witnessed my town physically falling apart, but at the same time, witnessed the people in the community grow stronger than ever before. I spent countless days with other members of Shelby donating our time to help rebuild the community. This is where I truly learned the importance of service and how any amount of time and effort can go miles.

ASIDE FROM HAVING A COMPASSIONATE PERSONALITY, EXPLAIN HOW YOU ARE PASSIONATE, DRIVEN, and ADVENTUROUS.

I chose passionate because if you aren’t passionate about something, stop wasting time and go out and find your passion. Sometimes you may stumble upon your passion, much like I did. I am passionate about the areas of my life that I dedicate the most time to. Passion makes me get up in the morning and get excited about my long list of to do’s. Stressful at times? Absolutely. However, it is a great feeling to look at my to do list and think to myself, 'I am so thankful to have a list of things I am beyond proud to be a part of, create, and so many chances to impact those around me.' My passion makes me stronger, more confident, more excited, more creative, and overall happier to live the busy life I do.

I am driven because I push myself to do the best I can do no matter what I put my mind to. If I don’t stay driven, I lose focus on my goals. Most of what I do is self-motivated, so I have to push myself to give 200% in all I do.

In the past year, I have become very adventurous. I have been adventurous both in my life and my work. I have been pushing myself to find more causes, organizations, and people that make me happier and more fulfilled. I am always looking for more. More to make me smile, more things that excite me, and more in general. I have traveled to cities and countries such as New Orleans, Denver, Punta Cana, Portland, Cozumel, Cayman Islands, and many more. Coming from a small farm community, I did not know much besides farmland, and small communities similar to mine. Exploring new cities, lifestyles, and meeting more people, it makes me want to travel even more in the future.

 

TELL US MORE ABOUT YOUR ROLE IN DANCE MARATHON AND HOW THAT STARTED.

I also found a family within Dance Marathon at BGSU. Since I was a freshman, I participated in the Dance Marathon event Bike for Tikes. Dance Marathon is across many campuses in the U.S., but Bike for Tikes is unique to BGSU’s Dance Marathon. Bike for Tikes is an event where 150 students bike from Cincinnati back up to Bowling Green, totaling 180 miles. All of the money raised goes towards the Children’s Miracle Network and the local hospital, Mercy Children’s in Toledo.

As a freshman, a group of Kappa Kappa Gammas were going to sign up for Bike for Tikes and pushed me to do so also. Today, I cannot thank these girls enough for doing just that 3 years ago because I can’t imagine my college career without Dance Marathon. This cause is something I have become extremely involved in year after year, and I am now the co-chair of this event as a senior. My role is planning the ride, recruiting bikers, fundraising for the cause, and igniting the passion in other bikers for this cause. This year I have raised over $5,500 and my goal for the Bike for Tike’s event is to reach over $105,000 for the kids. It is an amazing feeling being surrounded by over 600 participants knowing that them share the same passion as you. I hope that every student participates at least once while they are in college, because it is truly life changing.

YOU WERE ALSO INVOLVED WITH THE ONE GREY DRESS PROJECT-- COULD YOU TELL US WHAT THAT IS? HOW DID IT CHALLENGE YOU THE MOST?

In the Fall of 2015, I participated in the One Grey Dress Project on Bowling Green State University’s campus. This was the second year that the BGSU Panhellenic Council has sponsored the One Grey Dress Project. One Grey Dress is a thirty-day experience to raise money and awareness for victims of sex trafficking. This year, over one hundred women pledged to wear the same grey dress for thirty days, challenging themselves to walk in the shoes of girls and women without choices. One Grey Dress has raised over $5,000 for the three charities benefitting from One Grey Dress. I chose to fundraise for the Daughter Project, which supports victims of sex trafficking in Toledo in their recovery and supplies resources to be successful in the future. In 2009, Toledo was the fourth highest ranked city for investigations and arrests of sex trafficking of minors. It is estimated that more than one thousand victims are trafficked in Ohio each year. I chose to wear the same one grey dress for thirty days to bring awareness and funds to these oppressed girls and women. It was a challenge to wear the same outfit for a straight thirty days, to be honest. However, this challenge allowed me to speak about this cause because many people started to question why I was still wearing the same outfit after several days. This alone proved that every single person can make a difference.

HOW ABOUT GRAPHIC DESIGN?

By participating in many service events within the community and BGSU, it has changed the way I design and who I am as a person. I design with service in mind. Some of my latest designs have been 'design for good' designs, or designs that can help others in one way or another. I want my designs to better the community I am part of, share my passions with others, and impact people and/or help them in some way.

Some of my recent projects include designing an autism backpack specialized for children with autism at the Mercy Autism center in Maumee. Another project was creating a campaign for Dance Marathon to get more participants to sign up and get the word out about all of the events. This campaign has been, and still is being utilized in all of Dance Marathon's branding and promotions. Lastly, my senior thesis is designed to open the conversation about mental illness. I am sharing my own personal story in the hope to inspire others to speak about their struggles. Too often there is a negative stigma around mental illness and I want to break this stigma. Overall, I want my designs to mean something, help someone, and go beyond just a design. I want my designs to hold a purpose and a story.

WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE THING YOU'VE LEARNED BY COMMITTING SO MUCH OF YOURSELF TO SERVICE THROUGHOUT YOUR COLLEGE CAREER?

I have learned that any one person can make the biggest difference in someone’s life, and that someone, many times, is yourself. I can truly say that I am a different person today than what I was 4 years ago because of my commitment to service opportunities. Four years ago, I couldn’t define who I was, what I wanted, or where I would be after I graduate. I now know who I am, what I stand for, and the direction I want to go.


Brooke's Bike for Tikes page can be found right here for those of you who wish to spread some compassion. If you want to reach out to Brooke about how you can get involved in Dance Marathon, or want to know more about service, feel free to email her at bkranz@bgsu.edu.