By Lisa Roose-Church, DAILY PRESS & ARGUS

As a chubby child, Stacey Lundgren learned firsthand how mean children can be to one another.

As an adult, the single mother of five is teaching Livingston County schoolchildren how to be “bucket-fillers” — people whose daily words and actions are positive, loving, respectful, encouraging and compassionate.”To see these kids light up, turn on to the message is a gift,” said Lundgren, a Genoa Township resident. “They are so open to showing emotions.

Most adults have learned to bottle up feelings, although when we speak to adults, there are always tears, but kids are hungry for permission to express love, to talk about kindness. “One of my favorite things about this program is its strength in counteracting bullying. As a child who was bullied, I know its effect can be devastating on one’s self-esteem,” she added. Inc. was created by Lundgren’s father, Merrill, in 1979. The group’s vision is to strengthen families; create safe, positive schools; stop bullying before it begins and make bucket-filling a habit and a way of life, according to its Web site.

Lundgren’s zest for life has taken her on many adventures.
She lived in Howell for 22 years before moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1993, where she worked for three personal effectiveness training companies, which is where she gained her public speaking skills. It was this experience that she knew how much of a difference personal effectiveness could be for a person.

“This began my passion not only for training and public speaking, but for facilitating personal growth,” she said.

Lundgren relocated to Anchorage, Alaska, in 1997 and moved back to Salt Lake City after three years. While in Alaska, she traveled all over the state, selling advertising and helping operate a charter fishing lodge on a remote Alaskan island during the summer of 1996.

There were no cars on the remote island, “just a booming population of 100 people and lots of bears and boats,” Lundgren said. “Only way in was by float plane or boat and this is one of my best memories.

Adventure is a necessity for me. … Living and working in Alaska was a great adventure and one that I will never forget.”

She has won awards for selling insurance for a Fortune 500 organization and helped expand sales organization for a large technology company as sales and marketing manager. She also learned to work cattle, doctor them and pull calves.

“Ranch life has always been my preferred lifestyle,” she said.
When Lundgren isn’t teaching children how to grow as individuals, she enjoys spending time with her five children and two grandchildren, who also learn lessons from her and her father.

“When we stop growing, we get stagnant, and I’ll have none of that,” she said. “A driving force in my life, one that guides many of my decisions, is my strong desire to make a difference, to leave a mark in the world, or as my dad would say, ‘To justify the gift of life.’ ”

It is that desire that helped Lundgren decide to return to Michigan to help her father with his business.

“This is a message that contributes to people’s happiness and relationships,” she said. “What is more important than that? Nothing that I can think of.”