Wartburg’s fifth annual Dance Marathon exceeded expected participation during the event March 23 and raised $32,000. The money will be donated to the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.
The event consisted of 165 participants and 13 families that have been impacted by the Children’s Miracle Network in the past.
Participants danced and played games in Levick Arena from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Over 20 businesses helped sponsor the event.
“It’s all about the kids,” Marie Sorenson, senior in charge of advertising and recruitment, said.
“Dance Marathon gives students the chance to spread the word about kids in need and allows us to show these kids that they are a priority.”
Every hour of the event consisted of a new theme of dress worn by the participants and a morale dance to start the beginning of the theme.
Activities at the event included pingpong, a photo booth, four square, face paint, balloon animal making and dodgeball.
Student participants were split into groups with each having a morale captain and child affected by the Children’s Miracle Network.
Throughout the day, some of the kids and their families spoke to everyone involved about their experiences working with the Children’s Miracle Network.
“My favorite part of the event is getting to know the families and kids on a more personal level,” Kaitlin McElroy, a dancer in the event, said.
“It’s an awesome experience getting to interact with the kids and hear their story.”
In order to participate in the event, each person had to raise $100 through donations. The total amount donated was earned prior to an during the event as well as through an anonymous donor.
All of the money earned goes directly to the children being treated and their families to make their lives easier, Sorenson said.
The money being donated to the UI Children’s Hospital is being used to build play and recreation rooms for the kids and is assisting in developing a new building being built in 2015.
“It’s so important for everyone to realize what Dance Marathon is all about and why we’re here,” McElroy said. “We are simply showing our support through standing and dancing for those who can’t.”
Dance Marathon is a nation-wide event that provides networking opportunities between some Iowa colleges and universities.
All colleges and universities in Iowa are invited to participate in each other’s marathons and communicate ideas.
This year a bigger focus was put on social media and getting more of campus involved, Sorenson said.
Wartburg’s Dance Marathon is also open to the community and has received donations from many community members.
“Events like this show the kids that there is such a thing as community and togetherness,” Ta’Mone Williams, a student involved in the event, said.
“We’re helping show the kids that the community really cares and wants to hear their story.”
With service and community being major elements of a Wartburg education, members of Dance Marathon hope to get even more students involved next year, Sorenson said.
“Even if we can impact one child’s life, that means so much,” Sorenson said.