Dance Marathon: Another Step for Change

Kara Warren, Staff Writer

   When you step into a middle school campus on a Saturday morning, you don’t expect much. But to your surprise, a stage of vibrant dancers, a DJ from the Y100 station, games spread onto every inch of the field, and miracle families fill your sight. Although it might just seem like a big party, you’ve now entered the PPCS Jag-a-Thon—where hundreds of people gather to “roar for the kids”!

   Well, what even is Dance Marathon? It’s a program that raises funds for children’s hospitals across the nation. The funds raised from schools from all over are sent to Children’s Miracle Network hospitals that contribute to providing a variety of services for young patients. This includes, but is not limited to: critical life-saving treatments, pediatric medical equipment, and research to continue fighting for these young lives. This, as well as financial assistance to ease the minds of parents, helps these families to reach their untapped potential.

   Before the organization hit PPCHS, two sophomores, Sebi Reyes-Farinas and Isabella Chavez led their own Dance Marathon at the Pines Charter West campus middle school. Inspired by the number of schools involved throughout the country, the sophomores, with the assistance of Ms.Elisa & their Dance Marathon club, were able to throw PPCS’s third event. 

   Sebi Reyes-Farinas, the president, executive director, and co-founder, spent almost an entire year planning this year’s Jag-a-Thon with her partner in crime, Isabella Chavez. The sophomores expressed that even though it takes tons of planning and thought to organize, nothing is more satisfying than making a real change for your community. “This year PPCS Dance Marathon wanted to create exciting, fresh fundraisers/volunteer opportunities that not only increases school spirit/engagement but the critical funds and awareness for children with medical disparities! We are extremely proud to say that we reached that goal and beyond! But, we aren’t stopping there. We plan to have a couple more fundraisers to extend the impact that we have on the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital! ”

   Sebi openly expressed that she wouldn’t have been able to do anywhere near as much without her team behind her. “Even though this was our first year hold the event at the high school we exceeded all expectations, especially despite these crazy times where we were told ‘No’ constantly. I would like to take this opportunity to take our advisors, Executive Board, Committee Core, school administrations, members, DM parents, sponsors, and all of our dear supporters. None of the things we achieved would have been possible without the endless love and dedication from people who simply desire to make a change in their community! We had such an outstanding year and cannot wait to see what’s in store for next year!”

   The club members, some of whom have been involved since their middle school years, have been waiting 2 years to put on the event once again. Isabella LaVerde, a freshman in Dance Marathon, has been anticipating this event for what feels like forever! “From the start, everything turned out as planned and every aspect of it had been carefully organized. I loved being able to help contribute in any way I did. It felt like an amazing opportunity for the younger students and club members. It brought me a sense of satisfaction seeing everyone participating for a good cause—and you could really feel a sense of community watching the final result of everyone’s work become a reality!”

   The sea of lime green participants and volunteers all met to contribute towards the same goal: to support and raise funds for kids in the Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.  By the end of the night, Dance Marathon was able to raise $12,652—exceeding their $10,000 goal! And they cheerfully lived out their club motto once again by “roaring for the kids”!