UCR Students Raise Funds for Emancipated Youths with Dance Marathon

Second-annual night of music, dancing and fun supports UCR Guardian Scholars Program

Dancing and flashing peace sign

The 2013 Dance Marathon is a night of music, dancing, games and fun for a good cause – support of the UCR Guardian Scholars Program.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Whether it is Gangnam Style or the Harlem Shuffle, University of California, Riverside students will be dancing for a great cause at the second annual UCR Dance Marathon on Saturday, February 23 at the Student Recreation Center.

Unlike its popular namesake from the 1950’s and 60’s, the UCR Dance Marathon doesn’t involve students dancing until they drop. Co-sponsored by the Student Alumni Association and Golden Key International Honour Society, it is a six-hour dance party with music, fun and games, with all proceeds going to support the UCR Guardian Scholars Program. UCR students are asked to raise a minimum of $25 to attend, but many raise much more. Last year the inaugural event easily surpassed its $10,000 fundraising goal, so organizers raised the goal to $15,000 for 2013. But raising money isn’t the only goal of the event.

students holding up posterboard

Students hold up poster boards with the total amount raised in support of the Guardian Scholars Program during the 2012 Dance Marathon.

“The Dance Marathon is about much more than just the total amount we raise,” said Kristin Seiler, director of student relations for the UCR Alumni Office. “It’s about educating – and empowering – students about the difference they can make when they stand together to support a cause.”

“I believe student philanthropy is a really important aspect of higher education,” agreed fourth-year business administration major Lynn Chang, executive director of the Dance Marathon. “It’s about giving back, about considering the needs of others, and making a difference in the lives of others.”

The UCR Guardian Scholars Program was formed in 2008 to support students at UC Riverside who have aged out of the foster care system. The program provides these emancipated foster youth with resources that allow them to facilitate their successful pursuit of higher education. Assistance includes financial aid and counseling, year-round housing options, academic and professional mentoring, health and counseling services, peer mentoring and student programming, admission and enrollment assistance, employment assistance and career counseling, as well as emergency funds.

Seiler said that the Guardian Scholars Program was chosen so that participants would be able to see the impact that their contributions are making in the lives of their fellow students.

“That direct link is what makes the event truly special. We’re able to see the real results,” Seiler said. “One of the most gratifying moments in this process was last year when Tuppett Yates, the Guardian Scholars program director, said that the Guardian Scholar students were “blown away” by the support that they had received from their fellow Highlanders. They asked ‘Why would they do for us?’  My response was: ‘Why wouldn’t we?’ They’re part of the UCR family, and that’s what families do.”

Students enter the Student Recreation Center during the 2012 Dance Marathon.

Students enter the Student Recreation Center during the 2012 Dance Marathon.

Second-year biology major Nancy Matti said her participation with the Dance Marathon as involvement director opened her eyes to the work being done by the Guardian Scholars program.

“At first, it was just an activity to participate in, but as I met students in the Guardian Scholars and learned more about what the program stood for, I became more attached to the cause,” Matti said. “I want the Dance Marathon to support the Guardian Scholars for years, to offer assurance for future emancipated youth who will attend UCR.”

Chang gave credit to the students who make up the Dance Marathon board and committees. In addition to preparing for event itself, students have been busy setting up promotional flash mobs and holding fundraisers at local restaurants including The Substation and Boba Tea House.

“None of this would be possible without the dedication and hard work of these students,” she said. “It is an extraordinary team.”

The marathon goes from 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Student Recreation Center. In addition to dancing, games and prizes, the top fundraisers will be awarded a perpetual trophy. For more information, please visit www.dancemarathon.ucr.edu.

Individuals interested in sponsoring a Dance Marathon team or supporting the Guardian Scholars program do so by visiting the donate page on the Dance Marathon website.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4756
E-mail: john.warren@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Kristin Seiler
Tel: (951) 827-4511
E-mail: kristin.seiler@ucr.edu

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