“The Journey of 1,000 Miles Begins with a Single Step.”
On Wednesday, November 18, Padua students, faculty, staff, and guest speakers from around the world met for much needed inspiration. Dana Shockman was one of the guest speakers for our virtual Wednesday activity.
Dana is from a small town, just over 1,000 people, in rural Minnesota. She was active as a student athlete, Student Council and National Honor Society member, volunteered within her Church community, and soon developed a love for travel. Upon graduation she pursued a degree at the University of St. Thomas in International Studies with a focus in Political Science and a minor in Spanish. While there her love of travel continued to grow. Over the next few years her travels continued, through her work in the non-profit sector. She studied abroad in Spain, visited many countries in Europe, China, moved across the country to Washington D.C and then across the country again to San Francisco, and now resides in London UK.
During her travels there was one message which continued to pull on her heart, the need to explore as an individual and help others. Her work in philanthropy began in high school but extended throughout her adult life, with the joy of running. This was the message sent to our students, to find joy in the things you are passionate about all the while doing so in service of others. She was able to share her experiences in running the Marine Corps Marathon in DC and how she raised money for the Travis Manion foundation and her most recent experiences being a Crew Captain with Reebok's Midnight Runner program and her service marathon in Uganda. When asked “why Uganda” Dana shared it was simply to run a marathon, but she found out it was much more that left a lasting impression on her heart. While there she was able to experience the life and culture of the small rural community, build a playground for the elementary students, and raise funds for a new water pump and filtration system. “It no longer was about running the marathon, but building awareness, community and joy for those children. They will forever hold a piece of my heart. We plan on going back when safe in 2021.”
While her passion for running is evident she shared that the service for others while in Uganda was the spark which ignited her passion further. She left the girls with three messages to think about in their own service works:
The future is yours to decide how you will help others.
Set goals that scare you and excite you at the same time.
The distance between dreams and reality is YOUR individual call to action.
We thank Dana Shockman for telling her story and for giving a message that resonates so well with Padua’s mission and identity. We hope others will take her message of service and joy throughout their own giving season.