By: Michelle Bean
Last Friday’s Dance Marathon provided an opportunity for hundreds of CSUB students to give back to the community while having a good time. Dance Marathon participants and organizers gathered in the Student Union for a full 12 hours of dancing, games and more.
Dance Marathon is a nationwide organization in which volunteers dance through the night in order to raise money for local children’s hospitals. More than 150 schools participate in the event across the country.
The local CSUB chapter is led by Hilda Nieblas. Now a first-year graduate student, Nieblas said that she knew two years ago she wanted to start a club on campus, but she wasn’t initially sure what kind. When she found out about Dance Marathon and the charity they perform for communities, she realized that Dance Marathon was the perfect group for her to support.
Nieblas said she was drawn to Dance Marathon because “you can give back and, at the same time, have fun.”
Nieblas and the Dance Marathon Club worked year-round to plan and execute the annual event. This year the committee wanted to provide more activities in addition to dancing to entertain the participants for the full 12 hours. Options included video games, caricature drawing, ice cream sundaes and checkups by the CSUB nursing program along with many other options.
The goal of being entertained was well within reach for one participant, sophomore Robert Escalante. As Escalante moved from activity to activity that night he said, “Dance Marathon is a night like no other.”
Senior Clayton Bowen was also optimistic about the night’s events. Eagerly anticipating the perfect moment to utilize his signature dance move – the robot – Clayton reported that it was the cause of the night that he was most excited about.
“The health of our children is vitally important to our future,” Bowen said.
Nieblas estimated that the event was probably bigger than it had been last year but maintained that, “It’s not about making it better. Every dollar raised is what counts.”
Proceeds from the night went to support Bakersfield’s Lauren Smalls Children’s Medical Center. The center provides local care for children with serious medical needs who would otherwise be forced to travel to specialists hundreds of miles away from home.
“[Dance Marathon] is about educating, informing and fundraising for a great cause in Kern County and everything stays local,” said Nieblas.
Nationally, Dance Marathons support hundreds of children’s hospitals and the official Dance Marathon webpage claims they’ve raised more than $62 million, but each individual Dance Marathon allocates its own funds to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospital in their community, so all the proceeds go to support local organizations.
According to Dance Marathon’s official website, the point to remember is that “We can dance for those who can’t.”