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Giving Back to Your Community as a School Volunteer

Russell as Healthy BearIt was 1993 and my previous broker asked if I would consider helping out Patricia Howard, the nurse at Eanes Elementary School with a little of my time on a special volunteer project. We had moved our family into the district a year earlier and though my children were only one and four years of age, I said sure. Little did I know that I would be involved with a volunteer effort that would last fifteen years and entail presentations to thousands of Kindergarten and first grade students at four different elementary schools in the Eanes School District. Patricia informed me that all I had to do was dress up in a bear costume as "Healthy Bear" and assist in teaching a program about the importance and health benefits of washing your hands. Here is the most inteteresting fact: The number 1 way germs are spread in the world is people NOT washing their hands! Reluctant but always game and exacting a promise that it would never get out and become public knowledge I agreed. I did think it was a bit weird at first and did not really want it known that I was prancing about in a bear costume before a bunch of school kids. (You know, with the likes of Krusty the Klown, Michael Jackson and others who had given those who volunteer with children a bad rap!)

My performances that week went fairly well in spite of a case of stage fright before a crowd of adoring 5 & 6 year olds and the fact that the costume made me sweat like a politician in church. I don't know what was so completely daunting because in a previous life, I had performed with several rock bands and engaged in all sorts of wild antics and well, that's another story... In fact, it went so well that Patricia "volunteered" my services to the other school nurses and counselors and before I knew it I was performing at four of the five elementary schools in the Eanes School District. Every January, I would take a few mornings a week and show up at the different schools and do the program. I made it into something fun and managed to mildly harass the teachers in some mischievous ways. I guess I was enjoying my influence as Healthy Bear and could not pass up the chance to have a little fun. I also made it a point to assign "homework" asking the kids to make sure that everyone in their homes engaged in regular hand washing protocol. I have to tell you there is nothing as relentless as a six year old evangelizing about hand washing (and I hear about this from clients all the time)!

Over the years I put in performances in all sorts of situations. One time between shows, I was on the phone with another realtor who was way out of line and I was responding in a direct and somewhat discordant manner. After I hung up the phone, the Principal and the school nurse were looking at me and one of them said, "So, what do you think that agent would a have done if they had seen you in that bear costume?" My answer was "she would have run or "not even" taken me seriously" so I am glad it was on the phone and NOT in Person. Over the years, I was Healthy Bear to both of my children while they were at Forest Trail Elementary and they were thrilled to know the secret behind the bear. One time the nurse made the mistake of asking me to transport the costume to Barton Creek Elementary and I ended up wearing it to the office and to visit some of my more "open minded" clients! This week, I started my fifteenth year as Healthy Bear but these days have narrowed down the performances to helping my friends Linda Kimbrough at Forest Trail Elementary and Bonnie Bucholz at Barton Creek Elementary . I will probably continue as long as either of them requests my services. I have to say that the Eanes School District has an incredible reputation and rightly so. The teachers and curriculum are first class and another contributing factor is the level of parental involvement. Friends and neighbors who take the time to show up and help in a thousand ways that keep the standards so high are what help make tour schools so spectacular. Schools everywhere are in need of outside, it only takes a little time and a willingness to help out! Have a great day and REMEMBER TO WASH YOUR HANDS!

Russell M. LewisPage copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape 

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70 commentsRussell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI • January 21 2009 02:19PM

Comments

Hi Russell, I cannot believe that Iget to make the first comment! I know you have been doing this for years and you have also won awards for your work with the school district. You always seem to have a good time no matter what you do!

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell - Wow, I don't think I knew this.  And I will be sure to wash my hands:)  I haven't volunteered enough in my lifetime.  Much kudos to you, my friend.

Posted by Jason Sardi, Pretty Fly for an Allentown Guy (None needed;)) about 1 year ago

I ended up wearing it to the office and to visit some of my more "open minded" clients!

Hahaha!  You keep life interesting, Russell.

Thanks for helping out the kids, in a fun way.  That's quite a costume you have.  Did you come up with a special Healthy Bear voice?  I'm thinking about something along the lines of Yogi Bear.  :)

Posted by Bruce Brockmeier - Coached By Crouch (Internet Marketing Consultant to REALTORS®) about 1 year ago

"I swear officer, Bears dont wear pants..!!"

Posted by Buster Spillar, GRI about 1 year ago

Hi Russell-Just wanted to stop over and say thank you for your comment on my last post. I'm busy, but I'm doing well. My furbabies are a big part of my heart so it is hard but the sun always comes up in the morning. I love that you volunteer and have for so many years. That is awesome. You are a BEARY ,BEARY nice man Russell. You've got a big heart and I'm glad to be counted among one of your friends. 

That stage fright with kids is humorous, but they are your toughest audience so I'm glad you overcame that! Have a blessed week. I'm stopping and seeing folks even though I won't have a opportunity to post for a brief time. Have a blessed week. :-)

Posted by Pat Preston (RE/MAX 1st Olympic Lynchburg Va) about 1 year ago

My teddy bear is a faithful friend,

you can pick him up from either end.

His fur is the color of breakfast toast,

and he is always there when I need him the most..

Posted by Buster Spillar, GRI about 1 year ago

Broker
Russell It was so interesting reading of your experience with Healthy Bear.
When in the Y Indian Guides with my boys in the 70's we chose names, Great white bear, Runnig bear and me Papa bear; so it was fun reading you and now I am just volunter Bill, reading coach for the second grade a few hours a week. Great job and loads of fun. Teachers and students love the volunteers. I recommend it to anyone to get involved in their school system doing a few hours each month. Thanks Russell for your story. Broker Bill in Colorado

Posted by Bill Wilson (Home Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Oh MY GOSH!!! The cat is out of the bag or really the BEAR is OUT! Too funny, I remember that you used to worry about people knowing you were Healthy Bear but you have obviously gotten past that! keep up the good work!

Posted by Allysoun Musslewhite (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Russell:  No one can say that you don't care about your community.  I don't know that I would have the patience to get into that costume and perform.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker (Long & Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) about 1 year ago

Jeannette Welcome aboard, I am glad you were the first to comment! Now if I could just persuade you and some of our associates to start blogging too!

Jason Actually not many people knew who was behind the bear or actually sweating like crazy in that costume! I figure it just another past of repaying any Karmic debt I may have outstanding!

Bruce Yeah...I just got a wild hair one day and did not stop until I had shocked a number of unsuspecting people! I use my same voice but now that you mention it...

Buster That si so funny because when I was driving around I kept wondering how I would explain myself if I were to be pulled over!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Pat I was thinking about you today and know it has been a difficult time. And you made me laugh with your "Beary" pun!

Buster You crack me up! I hope your "teddy bare" is always nearby to comfort you!

Broker Bill Good to hear that you are also involved in your schools and community. I was also a parent reader (I loved that) and have been on numerous committees over the years to contribute to our fantastic school system!

Allysoun Yep, the bear has left the cave! Hah, I used to be concerned that people might think it strange and then realized that I rarely put much stock in others judgmental opinions! It's still fun and I enjoy being able to help out when needed!

Chris Ann I used to think about quitting every once in awhile but finally got used to it and realized that it was doing some good! That's funny that you mentioned "patience" because it is sometimes in short supply! LOL

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell-I think that is so awesome that you do that at the different schools. It would be great if a lot more folks would do that. I love the bear outfit. I bet all the kids just loved you. Look forward to reading more of your blogs. Have a great night.

Posted by Sharon Lee (Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance) about 1 year ago

You will not believe this but I do remember when you came to the class. I heard your voice and knew instantly that it was you and I was thrilled!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell- I always thought you had that TeddyBear look about you (must be the beard), now you've given confirmation.......awwwww.....you're such a nice person, and this is such a heart-warming story.  HOWEVER, getting the "Wash-Your-Hands" message out there is more important than ever.  It is the most simple way of stopping the spread of germs that it bears repeating over and over.  Just a curiosity question...have the schools you volunteer for placed those antibacterial dispensers in high traffic areas as hospitals do?  If not, you might want to offer the suggestion.  As a Hospice volunteer, we are drilled on the necessity of frequent hand washing, be it soap and water - or antibacterial foam. 

p.s.  Thanks for checking in on Pat, she really needs some cheering up :-)

Posted by Gail MacMillan - CRS, e-PRO, GRI ~ Titusville FL Real Estate Brevard County (HomeSweetHomeFlorida.com) about 1 year ago

You big teddy bear, you!  This is wonderful of you and I'm glad you enjoy it!  Gotta go wash my hands!  xxoo

Posted by Susan Mangigian, West Chester PA Realtor RE/MAX Preferred, ABR (RE/MAX Preferred, West Chester, PA, RS152252A) about 1 year ago

Russell,
Oh shoot, Susan took my line!  It takes a special person bear to keep this going for 15 years!

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) about 1 year ago

Hi Sharon Thanks so much for stopping by! It's true the kids are always enthralled and that makes the work fun and entertaining!

Mattie I remember watching you and your eyes got so big and you could barely sit still. so funny and I remember it to this day!

Gail You of all people probably realize that I am not as "sweet" as this story seems. As a matter of fact I used to make some of the teachers nervous but always managed to behave...sort of! After I was initially nervous, I got a bit cocky being in that costume and it was pretty funny. Oh...did I say was,? I meant still is as I will be at Forest Trail again this week and Barton Creek elementary next week. In answer to your question, yes there are anti-bacterial (can you say that?) dispensers installed all over the school and there are sinks in all of the classrooms but it is a never ending challenge!

Susan It looks like my reputation is taking a swing in yet another direction!?!?!?

Cynthia Y'all are cracking me up with all the puns but I figured I was inviting them when I posted this. I do enjoy volunteering in this capacity but only after they "guilt-tripped me for a few years until I was hooked! Ha Ha!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Too bad that agent couldn't see the BEAR!!

Posted by Marchel Peterson Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro (Results Realty) about 1 year ago

Oh Russell, that is just so cute and I can already imagine you cringing at the description "cute". Keep doing the good things you do my friend!

Posted by Lynne about 1 year ago

My Howdy

there Russell, my friend

This sure is a real fine thing you do. For the kids, in your community. I sure did enjoy reading about ya, being a caren bear, or are you a care bear. lol

God Bless America

Posted by Discover and Explore New Hampshire with Dale Baker (Baker Home Energy Audit & Commercial Properties Inspections ) about 1 year ago

Marchel, you are making me laugh out loud! I sometime have the reputation for being a bear but in that case i was literally dressed like one!

Lynne You are so right, I just cannot imagine being cute, cuddly and all that sweet...*WHEW*I thought I might be setting myself up for some teasing when I finally posted about doing this!

DaleGood to hear from you and you are also making me laugh! I have to admit that I would be tempted to make some good natured remarks myself (I get it around my office  every time I take time to do the "bears" work! LOL

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell, as time goes on, I learn more and more about you. BEAR!  Healthy BEAR...that's fantastic and I would imagine that homes in the area of these schools are sought after.

You are a heck of a guy!

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 1 year ago

Lewis.... this is simply awesome....   what a great way to give back to the community. But stage fright?  How is that when you are hiding in a big bears costume... lol  Seriously, this is a great thing.... and 15 years later... wow.  oh, wait, I need to go wash my hands before I type this comment to you... oh well, to late. I have 6 nieces and nephews and ranging from 9 to 1, and 4 of them are learning all of this... thanks for sharing..

jeff belonger

 

Posted by Jeff Belonger-The FHA Expert - FHA Loans - FHA mortgages - USDA loans - VA Loans ( - FHA Home Loans - Infinity Home Mortgage Company, Inc) about 1 year ago

Dear Russell,

I feel privileged to know the man behind the bear. LOL Thanks for teaching these children a valuable lesson. Personally I am amazed at the number of "sink skippers" in the world.Kudos Russell!

Betina

 

Posted by Betina Foreman-Serving Lake Travis, Lake Austin and the greater Austin area! ((512)771-6318 Prospect Real Estate Solutions, LLC) about 1 year ago

Russell you are always doing something good for our community and usually having some fun at the same time. I ca just imagine what you do to tease those teachers so keep up the good work!

Posted by Anne Giles (AvenueOne Properties, Inc.) about 1 year ago

Now Russell- What do you mean saying...me of all people should know.....what, I'm pretty sure you have as much sweet in you as I have sweet in me.  BTW - that would be TONS of SWEETS....just NOT always....LOL.  I don't frighten easily!!!

Posted by Gail MacMillan - CRS, e-PRO, GRI ~ Titusville FL Real Estate Brevard County (HomeSweetHomeFlorida.com) about 1 year ago

Gena You are absolutely right. The Eanes School District prices are higher because of the wonderful school system. I believe that only about 65% of the people living in our area have children in school and the rest are there because the values remain strong because of the schools! Thanks for the compliment!

Jeff I know it sounds silly but I did get nervous (and yes I was in costume) but they know if you are faking it! HAH! And yes I will probably keep doing it as long as the last two nurses keep asking! Have fun with all those family kids! WOW!

Betina Once you go bear you can never go back! LOL...Did I really say that? I have made an effort to wash my hands more after learning about it!

Anne You know me all too well and I do admit to some mischief in the past and well maybe even this week too! Thanks for the kudos!

HI GAIL As unbelievable as it might seem there are several of us who have gotten to know each other quite well (even though we have never met). And yes I also love sweets and probably resemble Yogi Bear more than any there (so keep that pic-a-nic basket secure when I am around!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Well now, this is a humorous surprise. you always said you were hesitant to tell people about you:

"prancing about in a bear costume"

It is very funny, especially the way you tell the stories but you are to be commended for your tireless efforts with the Eanes School District!

Posted by Scott Harvey (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Hi there, Scott sent me this link to your new blog article! I know you have done this for years and think it's great that you continue to volunteer even though you no longer have kids in elementary school!

Posted by Michelle about 1 year ago

That is awesome Russell... but I must admit I am feeling a little left out.  We didn't have a hand washing bear in Helotes when I was growing up!  All we got was Smoky the Bear.  But I suppose, you and Smoky could do a great tag team presentation.  He gets his hands dirty putting out the fire, and you can show him how to wash his hands afterward.  Perfect!

Posted by Elsa Decker about 1 year ago

Hi Russell These comments  are really great. You must be enjoying them immensely....I did, 

now for mine.

I love this blog and I am sending it to my daughter she teaches at Penn State but also volunteers at my grandson school.  She is preparing a special environmental project for the  elementary kids.  She will  love this story.

I see you even dressed up in your Sunday tie. What a great way to remind the kids of something important.  I remember when my daughter was a little one what an impact the green  " MR. Yuck sticker " that we used to put on harmful cleaner bottles.made on her ..she knew it meant danger.

I bet the kids loved this.  What a great job you do for the community. You are an inspiration and set the bar really high in helping others.  You are one special cowpoke bear.

 

 

 

Posted by June Lewis Realtor® Northwood Realty New Castle,Pa Lawrence Co 7247304571 (Northwood Realty Services) about 1 year ago

WOW Russell, this is so cool!! Good for you for doing it for the past 15 years. My son's elementary school had a lot of parent involvement too and it was really refreshing seeing the dad's come in too. Take Care Mr. Bear!!

Posted by Teresa Harris ~ Denver . Lake Norman . Charlotte (Holbrooks Real Estate, Inc. ) about 1 year ago

I love it!  I once crashed a parade in a flamingo costume.  People didn't believe it was me until I spoke.  It was one of the most fun things I have ever done.  I think I will see if it is still available and check out some of our local schools.

Thanks Russell.  That's an adorable story!

Posted by PONTE VEDRA BEACH REAL ESTATE Terri Hattaway (Real Estate and Financial Services) about 1 year ago

Well, I am just so sorry that the other great Elementary schools in the district are missing out! I think that it is time for you to do this show at the office? Again, this is why our Board gave you a wonderful honor for your service to the community. It is very inspiring!

Posted by Liz Newell, AvenueOne Properties about 1 year ago

I volunteer at my sons school once a week.  It is really fun and rewarding to work with the kids, and I get to see first hand how he is doing in school. I'm love that I have a business with a flexible schedule that allows me to do this every week! 

Posted by Myra Jensen about 1 year ago

a job well done to contruibute to your community, now just dont drink and drive like our AZ Diamondbacks baseball masket 'baxter'

Posted by James Wexler, Scottsdale AZ Luxury Homes (Coldwell Banker) (wexzilla.com) about 1 year ago

Scott,I don't remember writing that and now that you pointed it out, it's very funny! I did hesitate for a long time but now I am "out of the cave" so to speak...

Michelle thanks for dropping by and thanks for the compliment too. I still enjoy doing this and it's a lot easier now that we have narrowed it down to two schools!

Elsa I did not know that you were a small town girl, you have certainly become more cosmopolitan! That's funny about Smoky Bear...I probably resembled him more in my twenties OOPS!

June it took me forever to admit publicly that I was doing this for so long but I figure it will not scare off too many folks! LOLYour daughter sounds like a great person (probably a lot like her MOM) and yes the kids really enjoy it when Healthy Bear visits and look forward to it all week. First grade and kindergarten is cool because they have not yet become as cynical as you know...4th graders HAH!

Teresa It's great when there is a lot of positive parental involvement and you make an excellent point about Dad's being able to volunteer. Most Dad's have jobs that are not as flexible, hour wise, as mine in real estate so maybe don't have the opportunity to be available!

 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Terri you sound like my kind of fun person! We are also flamingo fans and it's even funnier that along with some of the other neighbors, we have flamingos in the yard! I hope you find an opportunity to volunteer and thanks for dropping by!

Liz I used to do the program at other schools but it just took too much time. I did however volunteer and train some other "bears" to fill my shoes and I hope the program is still in place!

Myra Good for you and I agree that it's a bonus of being in our business that it allows for us to show up and be involved!

James Okay you got me and I am really laughing, it would be embarrassing to be in the line up as the bear! Thanks for dropping by!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Rusell - what a great story and volunteering with children is so rewarding.  Just think how many children over the past 15 years have been touched by Healthy Bear!

Tina in Virginia

Posted by Tina Merritt - Virginia Beach Real Estate (Nest Realty) about 1 year ago

Hey, some of the kids that used to go to Forest Trail read this and were amazed that it was YOU after all these years! LOL!

Posted by Mattie Lewis (AvenueOne Properties) about 1 year ago

Hi Healthy Bear     I, too, volunteer.  My Rotary club reads to hearing impaired elemantary school children.  It so takes me back to when my son was a youngster - he's now 6'4".  I do still correct him as needed - it's the Mommy in me,  Karen 

Posted by Karen Kruschka - Prince William, Fairfax ,Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (RE/MAX Olympic Realty) about 1 year ago

Hi Russell (a.k.a. Healthy Bear)!  I love volunteering in the schools but, since my boys our in college, I dove into my local Rotary and found another volunteer avenue with children there.  I have to say that I never dressed up as a bear but, certainly did some pretty fun jobs with the schools and had a blast doing it!

Debe in Charlotte

Posted by Debe Maxwell - Search Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte NC Neighborhoods (Helen Adams Realty) about 1 year ago

Tina Thanks, I was talking with one of the school principals and he and the counselors said it was probably several thousand. I was amazed and just hope some of them are still washing their hands!

Mattie, that is funny, it's been about 15 years worth so there are a number of groups that have passsed through the program. I am guessing it was your class in particular though!

Karen I figured you were a helper back then and it's nice to see you still giving back through Rotary. As far as the "MOM" thing, my wife still tells our son (who is now in college) that he will always be her little boy and he does not argue!

Debe Good to see you, and you will notice that you and Karen have more in common than great local neighborhood reports, you are both involved in giving back to your community through Rotary! Keep up the good work!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell - that is awesome you donate your time and yourself to the school. I am sure the kids love it. I love the costume . . . what fun I could have with that!!

Posted by Sharon Paxson Newport Beach Real Estate (Prudential California Realty, DRE License 01501912) about 1 year ago

Russell,

I think it is wonderful you have been the "Healthy Bear" for fifteen bears! Giving back to your community is a very rewarding experience and the children in the Eanes Schools are fortunate to have you visit them each year. You are right about washing your hands! I was a teacher a long time ago and couldn't believe how important doing that was!!

Posted by Dorie Dillard: Canyon Creek & NW Austin Living (Coldwell Banker United) about 1 year ago

Sharon You are cracking me up because I only mentioned a few of the things I have done with that costume when I was transporting it to the different schools. You seem have the same mischievous attitude as we do here in Austin!

Dorie Thanks so much for the Kudos and I have to say I admire all teachers past and present. I will also say that a teachers background should be a great advantage to working in real estate! Thanks for dropping by. I see that you are in Austin and need to check out your blog too!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Hi again Russell!  I JUST figured that out--had I read your comments, I would have known that but, I didn't make it through them all--obviously!  Thanks again for the connection!

Debe in Charlotte

Posted by Debe Maxwell - Search Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte NC Neighborhoods (Helen Adams Realty) about 1 year ago

Debe you are very welcome. I figured you two might hit it off and I really like the way you two post neighborhood reports about the different areas of your expertise. I am going to have my assistant look at them and then we can come up with a hybrid. Thanks to you both for the inspiration!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Thanks again, 'Healthy Bear'!  I do wish that I had an assistant who would create these posts for me sometimes--they are very time consuming but, well worth getting your knowledge exposed to the consumer!!

Debe in Charlotte

Posted by Debe Maxwell - Search Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte NC Neighborhoods (Helen Adams Realty) about 1 year ago

This is what we are trying to develop with our organization where parents, families and the community feel a responsibility to get involved at school.  What a great story and thank you for following thorugh with Healthy Bear.

 

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The family is a critical component to any child’s life.  When it comes to education, no greater statistic stands truer today than the achievement gap between students whose parents are involved in their education process and those who do not have that support.  Personal responsibility, safety and education are key elements to bringing up the next generation.

 

After 10 years of experience leading a volunteer program in my children’s elementary and middle schools, Schools And Families Engaged (the S.A.F.E. TEAM on Campus) was launched  in 2008 to meet the needs of schools and families.  Many of the school's families do not know where to begin in school.  Many parents today never had an example of their parents supporting the school let alone they may not have enjoyed their personal schooling experience.  Why would they have a desire to serve?  You only know what you have experienced.

 

Make time to check out our site www.thesafeteam.com .  On the About SAFE page, click on the 40 Developmental Assets link.  This will tie in all the benefits of families and communities supporting their students both in school and out of school.

 

Posted by Scott Huse about 1 year ago

Russell...

Well you should have never let me see you dressed up as such a cute cuddly bear :)  Sure wish your first name was Ted, that would make it real easy, you would be my Teddy Bear of course.

What a great thing you do for those kids, and it must be very rewarding.  You are teaching them such a valuable lesson too.  Did you tell them about how long to wash their hands, while they sign Happy Birthday?  True story.

Looks like you have been hard at work you have almost caught me in points now...I better get busy.

Honestly I would have paid money to have seen the agents face if the conversation took place face to bear face, that would have been too funny!  If they had any sense of humor it should have smoothed the whole thing over :).  Maybe you should try wearing it the next time you have an appointment that might be a little tense...you know, kinda bread the ice so to speak.

Missed you tons, Liz

Posted by Liz Carter,Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston) (Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life!) about 1 year ago

I commented on this post earlier but wanted to add that you are to be congratulated because this is just another reason the Austin Board of Realtors chose you as the Community Service member of the year. That is a great honor when you consider that there are over 10,000 agents in Central Texas!

Posted by Jeannette Spinelli (Avenue One Properties) about 1 year ago

Russell  That has to be one of the most rewarding "serve my community" programs you are involved in - your community is fortunate to have you being a part of it,  Art

Posted by Art Kruschka - Fairfax Prince William Stafford County VA Real Estate Service (First Virginia Realty Management) about 1 year ago

Russell, remember Smokey, the Bear? Now, we have Russell, the Health Bear...are you ready for lights, action and a TV spot? You've got my vote!

What a great way to give back to your community. Kudos

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 1 year ago

Scott You are so right that it is the efforts of the individuals, parents and community that help a school excel! I will check out your site and thanks so much for contributing to this discussion!

Liz Actually I could imagine you dressed up in a costume! You have such a great sense of humor and enthusiasm that it would not surprise me at all. Especially if it had to do with helping your community! As far as that other agent, the look and the nurse and principal's faces were priceless. They thought I was just a sweetie all the time!  Anyway, it is so good to see you back and I am happy you are improving and back in the world again. We have MISSED YOU!

Jeannette Thank so much for the compliment. It was truly an honor to be chosen out of so many people who give to our wonderful city!

Art Thanks for dropping by. I do participate in many volunteer efforts and this is one that is always fun! I also admire the way you and Karen contribute to your local community!

Gena That's funny you mentioned Smoky Bear because a couple of others also commented on that. Bears do have a big impact on kids, especially if they are friendly!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Debe OOPS! I almost missed you. I also wish my assistant could generate these market reports but I would spend as much time explaining as I would doing it myself. Thanks again for dropping by and i am glad you and Karen were able to connect. Meeting others with common interests, ethics and personalities is my favorite part of Active rain!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell you are too much! What a fun and slightly crazy way to help spread a very important message!

Posted by Erin about 1 year ago

I love, love, LOVE this post!! I've just got to include it in my week in review. :-) You are such a good guy! ~GBU~

Posted by Elizabeth Nieves - Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team (The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group) about 1 year ago

Erin It is s fun way to help out and yes more than just a little crazy!

Elizabeth it's so good to hear from you and thanks for the compliment! I also appreciate being included in the weekly review! Have a good week my friend!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell, she did indeed put you in the week in review. I'm really glad too because I would have missed this. What a great story! AND reading your comments to Debe about the market report sent me to Karen's blog to learn more. :)

Anyway, I don't have children, but have volunteered at the Tennessee Baptist Children's home for several years now. I'm not sure it's as fun as the bear. LOL I think everyone should find a place to volunteer. They can't know how much it does for the community and for ourselves!

Posted by Connie Harvey Realtor Nashville TN Real Estate (Prudential Woodmont Realty) about 1 year ago

Russell.... What a  great way to give back to your community.  It sounds like you have a lot of fun  with the bear costume.

Posted by Rebecca Gaujot Lewisburg WV Realtor (Coldwell Banker Stuart & Watts Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Connie I am so glad that you were able to see and learn about others here at Active Rain. I always enjoy getting to know more about agents with whom I share similar work ethics and ideas! I like that you volunteer in your community because it's one of the things I enjoy outside of my real estate business!

Rebecca Now that I have admitted it, I should also say that it's probably the silliness of the costume that keeps me coming back! Thanks for dropping by!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

You go, RussBear!

Anything to convince our kids about good hygiene, even if it's prancing bears! As a former teacher, it always amazed me that the children paid much more attention (and remembered more!) from a guest than they did from me!!!

Thanks for DOING!

Kathy Opatka, Re'Max Premier Properties, OCEAN CITY,MARYLAND

Posted by KATHY OPATKA Ocean City, MD Re/Max Premier Properties (Re/Max Premier Properties) about 1 year ago

Kathy It is funny how a guest appearance by a bear can temporarily upstage the teachers but it's one of the things that makes it work! I have always thought that teachers entering real estate would do well to improve our profession because of the level of commitment, ethics and persistence they bring from the job of teaching! I hope you are doing well!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

Russell .... you are sooo much fun!  pippa

Posted by Pippa MAC, The Woodlands TX Real Estate Remax Real Estate Spring Texas Realtor (Remax Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) about 1 year ago

You never cease to amaze me Russell.  This is the best yet!!!  No wonder your kids are such good kids.  It takes parent involvement no matter what your asked to do. Now not sure about a "Bear"!!!

Posted by Karen David-Mohr about 1 year ago

Pippa Good to see you here, I figure you must be busy. Like you I try to help out in the schools that are in the areas where I work and yes I always try to make it fun!

Karen Thank you for your compliment! I keep thinking our children have turned out fairly well (so far!!!) because they have such a great MOM! Hey, I will be by your office next week and will call first!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago

That is incredible that you have done it for 15 years.  Great job.

Posted by Ocean County Homes - Jennifer Kipila - The Muldowney Team (Van Dyk Group) about 1 year ago

Jennifer Thanks, I have one principal and two Nurses that I still work with and over the years have figured out new and interesting ways of making it fun!

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (AvenueOne Properties, Austin Texas Real Estate) about 1 year ago
Hi guys. Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all. I am from Ukraine and learning to write in English, give true I wrote the following sentence: "All news articles ot planning to buy foxy bingo.Shop for it added from site buy it playfreebingowinreal." Thank you so much for your future answers :-D. Marisela.
Posted by Miriam about 1 year ago

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