Using compassion to trounce violence and bullying
Captain Encouragement, aka Nicholas Domingo, brought an important message to our meeting on Sept. 14.
Domingo knows bullying all too well. One day during second grade, he was stomped on and dragged across the playground. The incident left a permanent impression on him. "Bullying is an extremely serious thing," he says.
His program, the result of just "bouncing ideas around in my head," is borne out of a desire to make a difference. While traveling the country he would routinely compliment people and tell them they mattered. Studying our culture, he noted the negativity and violence in much of our media and entertainment. Even superheroes were not immune, using force to overcome evil. "Young kids believe they can punch their way through anything," he says. Cast as a superhero for TV programs, he knew that was the proper vehicle to connect with youth. Out of this came his firm, Call To Inspire, and alter-ego, Captain Encouragement. Now 25, he launched his program in March 2016.
A resident of Twain Harte, Calif., Domingo visits schools across the country to teach children about non-violence and anti-bullying. "To change the world," he says, "you have to change the mindset." By using a superhero character, he hopes to show kids that being compassionate is "cool." One goal of this program is to lower the incidence of suicide, a leading cause of death among those aged 14-24.
Domingo teamed with a writer (also a victim of bullying) to produce a comic book and poster. They are offered for sale online and during his presentations. Proceeds support the entire effort.
Is the message getting through? "I really like what you're doing," a 7-year-old offered one day. "I think this is what my age group should see."
A member of Twain Harte Rotary
(Twain Harte, Calif.), Domingo joined because he saw the good work Rotary does. Though he has a full time position in Twain Harte, he--er, Captain Encouragement--offers his message when he can. Upcoming speaking engagements include visits to a Rotary club and schools.
For more information or to book Captain Encouragement, visit his website
, or call 951-852-2257.
Also during this meeting, we learned that our recent KIDS From Wisconsin concert netted $1,500 to $1,800. The club will donate $1,500 to the music program at School District of New Berlin. Our next KIDS concert will take place at New Berlin Eisenhower on Wednesday, July 12, 2017.
A Miss New Berlin with a classical twist
Our meeting on Aug. 24 had a classical flair thanks to Miss New Berlin, Ashley Rewolinski's, violin.
A native of Ottawa, Wis. (pop. 3,867), Ashley was introduced to the violin at age nine. ("Late" in life, she says. Performers start as young as age three.) Although of fan of Miss America pageants, she had never considered participating. The turning point came in December 2015 when Ashley happened upon Gretchen Carlson's book,"Getting Real." An anchor with Fox News, Carlson was Miss America for 1989 and the first classical violinist to win that title. Carlson entered the pageant not for fame, Ashley says, but to help pay off student debt. As someone about to complete a Master's program, "this opportunity sounded awfully appealing to me!"
Even more important was the service aspect. Miss America pageants (which entail local, state and national contests) have four aspects, of which Service is one. Winners select a platform for their terms. Calling music "her life," Ashley knew that she would advocate for music education.
After being crowned Miss New Berlin, on Feb. 26, her final semester of graduate school "just became a whole lot busier." She spent a month in Miami playing numerous concerts and operas under a String Fellowship with the Miami Music Festival. This past May she earned her Master of Music in Violin Performance from Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts. Soon afterward, she started preparations for the Miss Wisconsin pageant.
Ashley is a huge supporter of the Barry Manilow Music Project
, which donates instruments and materials to school music programs. For her part, Ashley has collected six cases of music. These will be donated to schools in New Berlin and throughout Waukesha County. (She also donated her previous violin.)
Ashley's current violin was made in Germany by Gustav Ficker in 1926. During our meeting she played snippets from two classical pieces, "Sonata for Solo Violin" by Sergei Prokofiev and Johann Sebastian Bach's "Presto" from Sonata No.1. "I love finding rare pieces like these and playing them for audiences," Ashley says.
Her visit to our club was her 27th appearance as Miss New Berlin. Now 24, her goal is 100 events, the most of any Miss New Berlin. She is particularly interested in visiting schools. (You can view her schedule and request an appearance here.
) Use the contact form to inquire about donating sheet music and musical instruments.