Dance Your Heart Out!

Recently, I had the chance to fuse two things I’m insanely passionate about: Dance Marathon and Food and Fitness.  For anyone who doesn’t know, Dance Marathon (DM) is a nationwide effort to raise funds and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals across the country.  Dance Marathons are typically 12-48 hour events that happen at over 100 colleges.  Many colleges partner with local elementary, middle, and high schools to host mini-marathons.  I was lucky enough to find a group of students and teachers at West Central who were willing to put a lot of heart and soul into hosting a mini-marathon and dancing For The Kids!

I helped organize DM at my college for four years.  I’ve spent a lot of time volunteering and organizing events, but Dance Marathon always stands out for me as the most rewarding.  At the college level, the final marathon is a celebration of a year of fundraising, where everyone finally learns how much the community has come together to raise For The Kids, or, as we say, FTK.  After a year of planning, and 12 hours on your feet, seeing how much your work has paid off as the total is revealed is one of the most exhilarating feelings, and it never quite leaves you.

When I heard that one of the teachers at West Central was a fellow DM alum, I reached out to her to see if she was interested in hosting a mini-marathon at WC.  Together with the Food and Fitness Youth Team and their coach, we organized a marathon to take place during the school day on Friday, May 10th.  I loved connecting the work of the Youth Team to DM.  Since January, the FFI students have been teaching grades K through 6 dance moves during fitness drills.  The kids got to show off their dance moves during the mini, in addition to many, many more activities we had lined up for them.  Students, K-12, participated in the marathon, running relay races, playing musical chairs and twister, wearing silly outfits for the photo booth, and dancing their hearts out! 

Leading up to the marathon, fundraisers were held at the school to raise money for the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital.  Students were allowed to wear wacky outfits, buy t-shirts to show their DM spirit, and vote for which senior and principal would kiss a pig.  I was astounded by the amazing spirit and charity shown by the West Central community.  I cannot say enough how amazed I am at the support we received from parents, students, staff, and community members.  Speaking on behalf of those involved with the planning, our hard work was well worth it.  Seeing the students laughing and dancing was a ton of fun, but seeing the school come together to support Children’s Miracle Network and Dance Marathon was what really stood out to me.

After a couple of hours of dancing and activities, the Food and Fitness Youth Team came to the front of the gym to help reveal just how much West Central raised for UI’s Children’s Hospital.  Other first year mini-marathons I’ve attended have raised between $300 and $600.  I was blown away when West Central raised…….



For a school with only 262 students, the total of $1,030.12 is really telling of how strong the community support is at West Central.  I was slightly teary-eyed revealing the total, and am still proud of how the school came together to support wellness and raise money to support research and care at UI’s Children’s Hospital.

I can’t say enough how thankful I am to all of the dancers, volunteers, donors, and planners who made this event a success.  The point of any Dance Marathon is to dance for the kids who can’t dance for themselves.  I saw this attitude at West Central so many times, and I truly feel that everyone who participated was there For The Kids!  I’m so happy to have been a part of this event and happier to share West Central’s success with all of you.  See more pictures below of the students at West Central dancing FTK!

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