AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

We Are Your Neighbors: Shelly Silver, Des Moines, Local 3289


My name is Shelly Silver. My husband Roger and I have been married for 20 plus years. We have two kids, Leah age 14 and Dalton age 10 ½. Our kids go to Saydel schools. They play softball and baseball. We love going to the games and volunteering in the concession stands.

My daughter Leah and I volunteer regularly at the Animal Rescue League. We’ve started about 2 years ago. We walk dogs at the shelter, help the customers and help out at various fundraising activities for the ARL – the Des Moines Arts Festival, Altoona Dog Paddle, Santa Paws and Valentine Apple sales are some of the activities we’ve done.

My husband and I are signed up to be bone marrow donors. Several years ago we filled out the paperwork and had samples of our blood drawn. I would be excited to get the call to save someone’s life. My mother is an Emergency Room nurse so through her I’ve learned things like this are important to do as well as donating blood on a regular basis. I’ve given over 5 gallons in my life time.

A few years ago we “adopted” a child in Kenya, Africa named Derrick through Compassion International. We send money monthly but the cool thing is that we exchange letters 3-4 times a year. It’s fun to hear about him, his parents and his baby sister. He’s Leah’s age. He’s like any other kid – he goes to school, plays soccer and he’s active in a religious life through Compassion.

Along with Compassion we donate money regularly to the American Cancer Society. My dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor and we were told that we’d be lucky if he lived 6 months to a year. In November, that will have been 5 years ago. We feel very blessed and fortunate that he is still with is. The Susan G. Komen cancer run/walk is also an event that we’ve participated in a few times. My maternal grandmother died of the disease when my mother was 3 years old. I’ve known other women to be stricken by the disease. Other organizations we believe in and donate money to are MADD; Mercy Corps, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I regularly sign petitions online and through the mail to legislators about other causes dear to my heart – Earth Justice, Feminist Majority Foundation, and Move to name a few as well as AFSCME. I was Recording Secretary for my union and I’ve been a union steward for a couple of years now.

In my job as a Probation/Parole Officer, I feel like I’m getting paid to help people change their lives. I have a former probationer who still calls me yearly and sends me Christmas cards to tell me how he’s doing and to thank me for the role I played in helping him change his life. He used to be addicted to Meth and was on probation for forgery charges related to his addiction. He is now re-married, employed and has reconnected with his grown children.

I also have a second “job.” I teach at least once a week at Farrell’s Extreme Body Shaping in Ankeny. I started 3 years ago and have been teaching about 2 ½ years; first as a cardio kickboxing instructor and now a resistance bands instructor as well. Teaching keeps me motivated to stay healthy and active as well as motivating my students to do the same. I believe that eating right and exercising are important lessons to pass along to my kids. I want to live well into my hundreds so that I may see my great great grandchildren born.

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