Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Aaron Cox wins OU Idol!

OU Idol took over my life for pretty much the entire month of October. I literally ate, slept, and breathed OU Idol. My social life was a bit nonexistent and even my school work took a backseat to this production. It was the first show I have ever produced, and fortunately I had the help of my classmates, our Bobcats for Babies collegiate council, and the NCASC communications club.

In honor of Prematurity Awareness Month which is the month of November, we decided that OU Idol would be a great way to heighten awareness for premature birth and raise money for the March of Dimes. Prematurity Awareness Month takes place every November in honor of all the babies born prematurely, many of whom are no longer here with us today. Even when premature babies do survive, they often suffer life-long health problems such as blindness or cerebral palsy. When these babies are born early, there vital organs are not yet developed causing severe problems. Here is a picture of our campus graffiti wall we painted to further heighten awareness of premature birth.

On October 27th, twenty-six students auditioned for the OU Idol competition on the Athens campus in the Baker Student Center Ballroom. The contest was open to all students on the Athens campus. Contestants paid a $10 fee entry fee that benefited the March of Dimes. Contestants were ask to sing 60-90 seconds A Cappella for the auditions. After each performance, the judges provided feedback to each contestant. At the end of Monday's show the Top Ten contestants were announced, and then two more contestants were added in to make a Top 12. These Top 12 advanced to the OU Idol Finals on Tuesday, October 28th. During the Finals, contestants performed their entire song and were critiqued by three, qualified judges imitating Randy, Simon, and Paula. A Public Vote accounted for the score of the “fourth judge.” Ticket prices were $1 for the audition round and $3 for the Finals round. All Prizes were offered to the Top 12 Contestants. At the end of the finals night, the Top 5 contestants were announced, each receiving $25 to a local hair salon. The grand prize winner several gift certificates from around Athens, a $150 to a local hair salon, a gift basket, and a 3 song demo recording CD with LeVeck Entertainment and Production.

Aaron Cox wins OU Idol and the prize package worth over $1000! Aaron sang John Mayer's,"I Don't Trust Myself with Loving You" while playing acoustic guitar in the Finals Round.

The stage set-up in the Baker Ballroom. 125 students attended the auditions and almost 250 attended the Finals Round. OU Idol raised $700 for the March of Dimes! We had a great deal of media coverage and the front page of one of our local newspapers, "The Athens News." It was a fun show and was well supported by the community. Singers were able to showcase their talent and we were able to raise funds and heighten awareness for the mission of the March of Dimes.

March of Dimes Volunteer Leadership Conference 2008

It seems to have been a long time since my last post, and a great deal has taken place since then! October marked our March of Dimes Volunteer Leadership Conference as well as as OU Idol competition. The later took over my life for a good while, but was well worth it! Below are pictures from our Volunteer Leadership Conference in Houston, Texas. Every fall, volunteers from all over the country and our twenty National Youth Council members attend this conference. The past two year Sherri Shepherd, one of the co-host from "The View," has hosted the awards ceremony. Sherri had a premature baby a few years ago and has since become a life-long volunteerfor the March of Dimes. Other guests included Celebrity Chef Rock (pictured above) and Congresswoman Jackson-Lee, both of whom care dearly about issues dealing with infant mortality and premature birth. The President of the March of Dimes, Dr. Jennifer Howse, spoke to the National Youth Council when we arrived at the conference. This is always a highlight of my weekend. Below is a picture of me with Dr. Howse.She is an amazing transformational leader! The weekend was full of stories of triumph from families who have dealt with premature birth and workshops to help each volunteer better serve his community. I was part of a generation panel workshop that discussed trends in volunteering over each generation. I represented Generation Y and sat along side a representative from the Generation X, the Baby Boomers, and the Elders Generation.This was my third Volunteer Leadership Conference. It is always refreshing to my commitment to the March of Dimes and it is always great to spend time with other members of the National Youth Council. We are all college students from different states across the country and we are almost like extended family. Pictured below are some of our NYC members.

This conference yet another wonderful opportunity with the March of Dimes and I am honored to serve this organization that has contributed to the healthy life I am living today.