Members of the GW Dance Marathon planning committee presented a $40,000 check to the Children’s Miracle Network on live television June 3. About 50 GW dancers raised money at the 12-hour dance marathon held April 20 and 21 in the Hippodrome.
WUSA Channel 9 hosted the telethon to thank donors and invite viewers to donate more money, said Jamie King, work place giving coordinator of the Children’s National Medical Center. The medical center is the D.C. member of the network, a non-profit organization of 170 hospitals dedicated to helping children regardless of affliction or a family’s ability to pay.
The check included money raised by dance marathons at Georgetown University and Kennedy High School in D.C. GW’s event lasted from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. and raised $8,000. Donated food and music for the marathon raised the total to $15,000, said Jordan Usdan, chairman and founder of the GW Dance Marathon.
Student participants gave a minimum of $100 they solicited from family and friends to dance.
“GW’s lacking an event that involves the community and competitiveness,” Usdan said. “The dancing raises awareness and provides entertainment and a challenge for students.”
Groups of helpers manned the phones at the studio, while reporters briefly interviewed check presenters. They also welcomed children who had been treated at the medical center and their families to tell their stories and thank the donors. Donors included companies such as the Fannie Mae Foundation, Costco and D.C. United Way.
More creative groups also made appearances, such as the Washington Redskins Hogettes, a group of men dressed as female pigs who have donated to the charity for 19 years.
After a brief video showing student dancers and some families that attended the Dance Marathon, Usdan presented the check with committee members Mike Sion, finance chair Brian Kirrane, operations chair Sasa Nikolic, catering chair and family relations chair Christina Nabholz.
Usdan modeled the GW Dance Marathon, now a student organization, after Penn State University’s 30-year-old program. As the community service chair of Kappa Sigma, Usdan recruited many students from his fraternity, such as Kirrane and Sion and other members of the Greek-letter community.
The group also includes other students who wanted to get involved. Although Nikolic is in Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, he and Nabholz said they heard about it from an e-mail Usdan sent through the Student Association.
Nabholz described her job as a liaison between the students and the families as an amazing experience.
“It made it all more real,” she said. “When (the dancers) saw the kids it really made a difference. It reminded people what they were doing this for.”
King, a “dance marathoner” for two years at the University of Florida, said she was excited about working with students to put on the events.
“It’s a great combination when you put college students together with kids,” she said. “It shows our reliance on community and that you can give back at any age.”
Nikolic said the telethon was a great way for people who were not directly involved in raising money to make a donation.
“It’s good to see the effects of it right here in the area,” he said.
Next year Usdan said he hopes to recruit a new team to organize the dance marathon, since many of this year’s organizers are graduating or going abroad. He also plans to have the event earlier in the year, so it will not conflict with the Greek-letter community’s end of the year events.