Running around diligently in neon colored t-shirts, the masterminds behind SUNY New Paltz’s extension of Miracle Network Dance Marathon could breathe easy after having the experience to perfect and execute a successful fundraiser for the second year in a row.
On Saturday, April 15, under the collaboration of both the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and the Residence Hall Student Association (RHSA) and the direction of fourth-year elementary education and geography major Megan Bailey and fourth-year communication disorders and linguistics major Alana Slatky, the Multipurpose Room (MPR) was jam-packed with 139 registered dancers determined to meet a goal of $12,000.
Their cause? Sponsoring six families with children who have received the nurturing touch of Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital. The hospital, located at Westchester Medical Center, is the children’s hospital for the Hudson Valley as well as Fairfield County, Connecticut and is the local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital.
The Dance Marathon is a movement benefitting Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, raising funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals across North America. The network is the only children’s charity committed to using 100 percent of its funds to support local kids.
Bailey and Slatky are no strangers to the slight nuances that make for a successful fundraiser. Having a second year to finetune minute details, both directors admit that the exposure for the movement has grown, garnering a significant need for more volunteers.
“We have seven committees that are all involved in the planning of Dance Marathon,” Slatky explained. “Each are responsible for executing a certain aspect of the day whether it be the performances, what we need to get regarding food, booking a DJ or planning the morale dance which is performed every hour on the hour.”
Bailey was eager to chime in: “Last year the planning was strictly the efforts of the E-boards for NRHH and RHSA. It was not hard to recruit people to help this year though, having had so many people hear about it previously.”
Slatky gleamed as she explained that the children being sponsored would be in attendance. Each child had an opportunity to tell their story to the attendees, making it very clear that the blood, sweat and tears of all involved were going to a significant cause.
“One of the kids just got surgery on Wednesday and still made it,” Bailey said, citing the energy of the children as the part of the day she had been most looking forward to.
Committees involved set up the night prior, paving the way for all heavy lifting the next morning when volunteers began working at 9:15 a.m.
At approximately 1 p.m., the doors to the MPR were opened and dancers were given an opportunity to show the children what truly mattered.
The day did not stop at just accommodating those with an abundance of energy. For those who sought a more quiet environment, there were rooms set up with various clubs on campus offering an activity to pass the time. The Gaming Society came fully equipped with gaming consoles and exuberant energy to engage in a few video game tournaments.
When the clock read 8:30 p.m., tensions were high: it was time to announce the grand total of the fundraiser. With large smiles and hearts full of purpose, volunteers brought out large posters that read $12,442.70, surpassing the goal by over $400.
Bailey and Slatky lament that the work is still not done.
“We hope that after we graduate, people are inspired to continue this movement and give back to the kids,” Bailey said.