Dancing through the night: Hope’s annual Dance Marathon raises funds and spirits

Photo credit: Hope College website

Hope College’s annual Dance Marathon is coming up! This year it will be held on March 1-2 at the Dow Center. Despite how it sounds, Dance Marathon is more than just dancing. It is a 24-hour dance-a-thon that also includes tons of other activities such as bounce houses, lip sync battles, crafts, food and other fun events. 

Dance Marathon is a year-long fundraising event that starts in the fall and continues throughout the school year. The purpose of this event is to raise money for children at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Some fundraisers that Dance Marathon put on for this year include the Donut Run 5K, a county fair, a pop-up thrift store, and many others. 

Dance Marathon recently hosted its annual $21K day, where its goal was to raise over $21,000 in a single day. There were incentives for students and groups to donate to the cause, such as 25% off merchandise or their donations being matched. The group was able to achieve its goal, and it raised well over $21,000 in less than 24 hours. 

There are also several Hope College groups, such as Greek Life organizations, sports, clubs and some residential halls, that are involved in Dance Marathon. These groups organize fundraisers of their own. Some of these fundraisers have included bake sales, milkshake sales and pie-in-the-face, where students pay to smash a pie in a staff member’s or student’s face. 

Each of these groups participating in Dance Marathon is assigned a miracle child. They connect with their miracle families to get to know each other one-on-one. These groups make banners for their miracle children and hang them up at Dance Marathon to show their support. “I just loved the connections that we were able to make with the families and being able to actually do something to help support them, and I know that I wanted to continue that in college as much as I could” says Annie Snoap (’24). At the 24-hour dance-a-thon, the families of these miracle children will speak about their experiences and the impact that Dance Marathon has had on their lives. Many of the Dance Marathon miracle children have talents to showcase, and they perform at the Dance Marathon Talent Show. Emma Lord (’25), moral co-chair, says that her favorite part of Dance Marathon is interacting with the kids and getting to see how excited they are to take part in Dance Marathon.

Morgan Paul (’24), the finance director of Dance Marathon, said that “Project Night Lights” is one of her favorite events. Once a month, Dance Marathon members go outside of Helen DeVos Hospital and shine their flashlights outside of the windows of the kids who are currently in the hospital. This is a huge hit with the kids, and it is a wonderful way to let these children know that they are not alone and that there are people who care about them. Paul’s favorite part of involvement in Dance Marathon is “meeting everybody, meeting all the families, getting to interact with all the people at the hospital. I love to volunteer.” She went on to explain that she enjoys seeing the team’s hard work pay off at the end of Dance Marathon and being able to see how much of a difference they have made in the lives of so many people.

Elsie Craig (’25) is a fundraising tri-chair for Dance Marathon. Her committee leads all of the main fundraising events that Dance Marathon holds. When asked what her favorite part of being a part of Dance Marathon is, she responded, “I love being a part of the community and just the student leadership opportunity I think is really cool. I think it’s neat that Hope equips students to engage with the community in this way and to give back this way.” If you are interested in giving back, you can make a donation online or sign up for the Dance Marathon this weekend. You can find more information at Hope’s Dance Marathon website or the Miracle Network Dance Marathon website.

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