Volunteer of the Week: Jason Wilt, of Dowagiac
Jason Wilt, of Dowagiac, is the Director of Student Housing with Southwestern Michigan College and is one of the founding members of the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac. He along with several other members of the service organization is organizing the second annual Daddy Daughter Snowball, which takes place from 4 to 6 p.m. at Dowagiac Middle School.
What is your role with the Young Professionals?
I’m one of the founding members of the group, but I’m also the social media chair, so I do all the social media outputs to Facebook, sharing of events and setting up online sales, items such as that. I’m the social media presence for the group.
How long has the group been around?
This July will be our third fireworks, so it’s almost been about three years. We started about now (three years ago) planning for the fireworks.
How did the Daddy Daughter Snowball get started?
We were looking at ways to connect individuals with the town that they live in. We figured that first of all it gives dads the chance to be a father. There are a few of us in the group who are parents, and we understand how important that relationship is. We want to give the parents in Dowagiac a chance to have the opportunity to engage with their kids. Sometimes, in a smaller town, it doesn’t seem like there are as many opportunities as there actually are, so we want to increase that for the people that live here.
What are some the activities you will have lined up during the dance?
There’s going to be a DJ. We will have a Cinderella coming, from Michiana Princess. There will be some face painting/temporary tattoo station set up, and we’ll have a coloring station. We’ll also have some cookies and punch.
There will also be a photo booth set up, with photos taken by Blue Print Photography in town. She emails a copy of that picture of the individual to have, and they can order it from there.
How will you be helping out during the event?
I’ll be dancing with my daughter. A lot of us who have kids are doing the preplanning for the event. I’ll be there for setup and breakdown, but actually during the event I’ll be spending time with my daughter.
Besides the Daddy Daughter dance, what are some of the other activities you guys coordinate in the city?
Our big one is the annual fireworks; it’s kind of our key event. We do other events, fundraisers and community engagement operations to lead toward making that a self-sustaining event. Right now, we get a lot of business support. Businesses right now get asked for a lot of free things so our goal is help take that burden off by doing a lot of fundraising for the event.
We have some other new things planned. We’re working on the mother-son equivalent to the daddy-daughter dance. We’re trying to plan that out as we speak.
What’s the most rewarding part for you to work on this event?
I’m a big believer in positive parenting. I’m also involved with the Cass County Youth Council, which does child abuse prevention — I’m the treasurer for that. So it’s kind of a personal passion of mine for that, to give opportunities for positive interactions with parents. It’s so easy to see the negatives in parents, and those things standout, but to give them a chance to engage is so great to see.
I love making memories with my daughter — that’s the other side of this. To be part of something that my daughter also ends up really enjoying is a nice win-win.
People interested in attending Saturday’s event can purchase tickets at Bakeman Barbers, Baker’s Rhapsody or Fifth-Third Bank in downtown Dowagiac, or can purchase them at the door.