August 22, 2000
00-156

Jennifer Tanner
Communications Specialist

VSU to host Dance Marathon for Children's Miracle Network

On Feb. 24, 2001, Valdosta State University will host its first ever Dance Marathon for Children's Miracle Network (CMN), in the PE Complex. Students will collect per-hour pledges to stay on their feet for 14 hours, to help raise money for Shands Children's Hospital in Gainesville, Fla. "The students are doing this to give back to the community," said Dana Bekurs, coordinator of VSU Greek Life.

Dance Marathon is completely organized and run by the students, providing them an excellent growth and learning experience. While the event has been initiated by Greek Life, all student organizations are encouraged to participate. Dance Marathons are most successful with multiple groups.

Bekurs commends the support the Dance Marathon is getting from the university's administration. "From top to the bottom, it is unbelievable," said Bekurs. The representative from CMN "is really excited about that," Bekurs said. "He's excited about the facility, the students, and the administrative support." Bekurs added that administrators at other institutions are not always as receptive to Dance Marathon as they have been at VSU.

CMN provides the university with the use of its logo and reputation. A CMN representative advises the students, drawing form the organization's experience. CMN has been holding dance marathons since 1994, and approximately 60 schools currently participate. The hallmark of CMN is that 100 percent of the funds raised go directly to the participating hospital and no child in medical need will ever be turned away from a CMN hospital, regardless of the family's ability to pay. As the benefiting organization, CMN will provide to VSU the use of its logo and name on all event materials.

The CMN representative works with the student Finance Chair to process all income and expenses through Shands. All approved expenses will be deducted from the final gross revenue of the event, so there is little cost to the university and its students. Funds are collected prior to the event, so that a final total of the funds raised can be unveiled at the end of the marathon.

Finally, CMN serves as a liaison between the event and the "miracle families," who have directly benefited from Children's Miracle Network. Interaction with "miracle children" is an important source of motivation for the organizers and the dancers. "The students won't really be able to see the benefits until afterwards-not just by raising money but by seeing who it goes to," Bekurs said.

For more information, contact Dana Bekurs at Greek Life, 333�-5674