She believes in ‘paying it forward’—and that she does

Like the solid walls of a building that hold up the roof, UW-Madison Continuing Studies office staff carry an enormous load while supporting the educational work of  our conference/class managers. Each and every one is very much appreciated.

This week we honor one of our program assistants—a true whirlwind of action and expertise—as she moves on in her career.

Jodi Roberts, who has worked with Prof. Chelcy Bowles and the music programs for the last four years, is taking her many talents to the campus Office of Human  Resource Development in Bascom Hall.

  • a pumpkin-carving contest,
  • a baked-potato bar,
  • a tailgate brat fry,
  • the change-jug challenge,
  • the Build a Mountain of Care drive, and
  • the annual silent auction.

After a few years of helping the division become one of the top contributors in the state, Jodi was invited to join the statewide Campaign Board Training Committee team.

This winter she spent several months of her personal time organizing a mental health awareness benefit in memory of a recently deceased friend who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. With Jodi at the helm, the event became a benefit for the Dane County branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

In her usual enthusiastic fashion, Jodi organized “Jammin’ for Johnny,” an afternoon of music, comedy and food accompanied by an auction and raffle that raised $3,000 for NAMI. Jodi was also pleased that the event garnered airtime on Channel 15 TV, including a live interview with Jodi and John’s sister.

How she started

Jodi says she was moved to “pay it forward” when the Friends and Family Cancer Foundation (FFCF) gave her mother, who had been diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, a $300 gift card to pay for gas for daily trips to get radiation treatment at UW-Madison. “My mother needed to travel 140 miles round trip each day and the donation of that money meant so much.” Later FFCF gave the family a $500 gift card to buy lumber for a ramp that needed to be added to her mother’s house.

The gifts from FFCF inspired Jodi to establish “Ridin’ 4 a Cure,” an annual motorcycle ride that raises money for cancer patient assistance. Although her mom has passed away, Jodi has organized three more fundraising rides, which together have contributed more than $11,000 to several cancer-patient assistant programs in Wisconsin. The fifth ride is scheduled for Sept 7.

You have a wonderful gift, Jodi. Best wishes in your future many endeavors!