Dance Marathon at the University of Michigan (DMUM) is not what it seems. It's not a dance club that meets once a week or a club that gets together to simply hang out; rather it is something far greater. DMUM is a philanthropic and social organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness for pediatric rehabilitation programs for the children and families assisted by Mott Children's Hospital, Beaumont Children's Hospital, PEAC, North Star Reach, and other incredible programs.
For the past three years Dance Marathon has been a huge part of my college experience, and it has helped remind of what is truly important in life. DMUM allows me to volunteer and work with kids who normally, would not have the abilities and resources to go to therapies to improve their physical abilities. Through DMUM I have volunteered with kids who forget about their physical capabilities because they are genuinely enjoying and loving the college students they are with. Whether it is hoisting kids in wheel chairs high into a tree at the Tree Climbing Therapy or spending an entire weekend at North Star Reach family camp with our amazing DMUM families, Dance Marathon makes it possible for hundreds of kids to have these incredible experiences.
However, the greatest part of Dance Marathon is not just volunteering with these families and kids, it is establishing a special friendship and bond throughout the year. Through multiple events such as: Pumpkin Carving, Charity Ball, and VictorThon I have grown closer and closer to the incredible family I was paired with freshman year, the 35+ families I helped support last year, and all my friends involved in the organization. These kids appreciate every moment we are with them because days later they could be in surgery or in an incredibly difficult situation. Through Dance Marathon these kids have an opportunity. An opportunity to be a star, the center of attention in the midst of hundreds of cool college kids! However, the only way we can make this happen is through fundraising.
Since it is my fourth year in Dance Marathon I have decided to dramatically increase my goal to $3000. As I grow with the organization, I realize how important DMUM has become in my life and how important every donation is for the families involved. Although this is a big task, I know that with your support and the valued determination of every member in the organization, we can achieve this goal and make this year in Dance Marathon extraordinary.
So, Dance Marathon isn't necessarily your normal dance club, in fact, it isn't even your normal college club. It is something bigger. It's an organization that brings out the best of people because it has one overall goal: the kids. It's the kids that continue to inspire me to work hard and volunteer, and it is the kids that drive every single donation. So in that moment at my final VictorThon, when I watch all our hard work come to fruition, when families and friends come running up to me with smiles spreading from cheek to cheek, I will know that Dance Marathon has made a difference. A difference not only in their lives, but also in mine.