I’ve always been an observer of the human race. I mean it. As far back as I can remember, I would watch people — not in a crazy stalker kind of way, but in an “I’m really interested in understanding the world” manner. It may be hard to believe now, but I was a tad bit shy when I was a younger person. At some point in high school, I decided that I didn’t just want to watch from the sidelines trying to figure out what made people tick; I wanted to pose questions and find out how and why they become the people they are. Luckily, there was an outlet for this bothersome behavior — journalism, through the school newspaper. Imagine … I could ask question after question to find out more about the person or a topic of interest, and technically it was expected and wanted by my editor. Nice! I truly believe that people who are different make this life interesting and fun. I enjoy being social; I love talking to the folks of mid-Michigan and listening to their stories. I like to spend time with them so that I know what makes them happy, motivated or inspired. It may be the journalist in me, but I’m pretty nosy. I try really hard not to ask questions that probe too deeply, but sometimes it’s very difficult. My kids know what I mean … definitely. We’re so lucky here in the Capital area to have so many amazing people doing great things for their communities, helping others because it’s the right thing to do and simply being awesome. I think about all the news we get in our stream of consciousness and marvel at how ugly life and the people in it can be sometimes. It can be easy to get caught up in the negativity. But, with people like Tashmica Torok out there magnifying the light of an almost completely dark situation, there is hope for all. She has such an amazing personality and is beautiful — inside and out. And, because she shines so bright, USA Network deemed her as a true Character. In six minutes flat, USA Network decided that our very own trauma-surviving, foundation-starting, light-sharing neighbor is so amazing that her inspiring story should be told to millions. I agree. I’m proud to know her and thrilled to share her story with you. I encourage you to check out her website, learn more about what she’s trying to accomplish for people in our community and support her endeavors. I also think the future looks bright. Bob Hoffman, founder of ePIFany Now!, is highlighting the efforts of the younger generation who are passing it forward. CAWLM is going to follow some of the stories that show how mid-Michigan 12-18 year olds are making a difference starting with Abbey Bowman of Haslett. Check out the ePIFanyNow! website at epifanynow.org to check out the Y-PIF Award nomination form. The award will be given at the big May 3 event at MSUFCU from 1-5 p.m. Put it on your calendar! And while you have your calendar out, this year we are celebrating our favorite decade with the 80s Flashback Fundraiser on May 9. If it feels like it’s late this year, that’s because it is. We opted to move it into warmer weather. We always support a great charitable organization and this year is no exception. I’m proud to say that we’re supporting Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan this year. It’s an organization that provides leadership skills to young girls. I fondly remember my time as a Girl Scout. It taught me so much and I still appreciate the team and effort that our troop leader put in to make sure our experience was special and we learned valuable life lessons. Tickets are on sale now at cawlm.com. So, crimp your hair, find some gnarly neon and book your trip back to the baddest decade and the raddest party in town! Stay warm this month. I can feel the heat and see the sun on the horizon. I must be getting older, because time is moving faster and I get frustrated with the cold much sooner. I’m ready to move into spring.
Tiffany Dowling is the Founder and President of M3 Group, a full-service branding agency located in downtown Lansing, Mich. She is also owner and publisher of Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine and the Greater Lansing Business Monthly. Dowling has helped businesses and organizations with branding needs for more than a decade. Learn more at www.m3group.biz.