How Dance Marathon Is Changing College Students

How Dance Marathon Is Changing College Students

Dance Marathon is growing every day and showing college students what it means to be loving, selfless and ambitious.
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As it's been just over two weeks since I participated in Loras College's 11th Dance Marathon event, I can't help but look back and reflect on all I've seen this organization do for myself, different communities and the country as a whole just within the past two years. I'm only an incoming junior, but I'm anxious to see what Dance Marathon can do in my last two years, also!

For those of you who are unaware, Miracle Network Dance Marathon (MNDM) is a national organization that benefits the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, which are found all around the United States. MNDM is a non-profit that has organizations set up on college campuses. There are over 350 Dance Marathon programs and 200,000 college students that participate nationwide. Each of these organizations on different campuses spend all year fundraising for their event. Participants raise money by planning and hosting fundraisers, going into their communities seeking corporations to become sponsors and doing individual fundraising. At the end of each campus' fundraising year, they have a 12 to 40 hour event where they pledge to stand for the entire duration of the event in celebration of their fundraising efforts. All of the money raised by a school's organization goes to their local Children's Miracle Network Hospital. All of this money benefits the kiddos that stay at these hospitals in various ways: medical equipment, games and so much more.

Dance Marathon is For The Kids. Everything we do is FTK. But, what often goes unnoticed are the effects Dance Marathon has on us as college students. The world is so much bigger than just ourselves, and this organization is showing students that. The Dance Marathon organization has changed my life and how I see the world, so I wanted to share how. In the past two years, Dance Marathon has:

1. Helped me appreciate my bad days more.

I've heard so many stories from our miracle families about what they go through while in the hospital. Through those stories, I realized that even on my bad days, I still have a lot to be thankful for. Even when I have a bad day, I get to go to bed, sleep it off and wake up with a new attitude. But, these kiddos that we work with can't just sleep off their illnesses. They wake up every day, still partaking in their battle. This is constant reminder to me and it keeps me pushing and striving through my bad days.


2. Introduced me to new friends who I'll have forever.

I've met some of my best friends through Dance Marathon. When working with people throughout the entire year, you get to know them pretty well. Through late nights and long meetings, I've become close with some amazing, inspiring and creative people that I hope to remain friends with for the rest of my life. They make me want to be a better person, and that's something that everyone should seek for within friendship. Luckily for me, I found it through Dance Marathon.

3. Helped me appreciate other organizations more.

While at a fundraiser, someone said to me, "I'm glad you guys do this in your free time. I mean, someone has to do it, and I'm glad you do." In reality, someone needs to fight every bad thing in the world: mental illness, racism, etc. But, we can't expect every person to fight. Individuals have passions in certain areas, and mine happens to be within childhood illness. Others have passions elsewhere, and I respect that. To me, it doesn't really matter who's fighting for what, as long as we're all fighting for a better tomorrow. I've experienced the amount of work that goes into volunteering for a Dance Marathon event, and I have so much respect for anyone who puts their effort into something they're passionate about, too! I appreciate other organizations for what they do more than I ever have.

4. Shown me how a true community works together.

Each organization on each campus supports miracle families from around that area. We have around 40 families registered with LCDM, and they're all so incredible. With them, we create our college's Dance Marathon community. The thing about a community, though, is that everyone supports each other: the support is mutual. We support our families through the work that we do throughout the year, and they reach out to us in our times of need. Through everything they go through, they still take time to show us that they're here for us. This year at Loras, there was a fire in one of our residence halls. Our families, who have their children to take care of while also living their day-to-day lives, contacted the affected students to make sure they had somewhere to live and everything they needed. How incredible is that? Yes, we are there for them, but they're also here for us.

5. Shown me that I do have the power to change the world.

As college students, we have a freedom that we lack at home. Outside of classes, we have a lot of free time. A lot of students choose to get a job, watch Netflix, work out or various other things. Now I'm not saying those things are bad or unworthy of our time, because I make time for those things, too! But no one's forcing me to be involved with Dance Marathon in the free time I have. I choose to. I choose to spend my time fighting for kids who shouldn't fight alone. A lot of times when you're young, you hear the phrase, "You can change the world!" That's true, but sometimes its hard to believe that we can do that on our own. But when we take all of those college students that are using the minimal time they have to fight for those kids and put all of those efforts together, we see change in the world. In 2015 alone, MNDM altogether raised over $26,834,682. That number speaks volumes, and I'm honored to have been a part of it.

6. Given me the opportunity to fight for true miracles and heroes.

This is one of our miracle kiddos, Christopher, and this year he is the University of Iowa Children's Hospital Iowa Champion, because he is a true champion! His family shared their story at our event, and told us that he wasn't supposed to supposed to live for more than an hour. He is a true miracle. Today, he's 11 years old, and I'm honored that I have the opportunity to fight for him.

Cover Image Credit: Austin Lowry-Luther

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To The Senior Graduating High School In A Month

"What feels like the end, is often the beginning."
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It wasn’t too long ago that I was in your shoes. Just a little over a year ago, I was the senior that had a month left. One month left in the hometown that I grew up in. One month left with the friends that I didn’t want to leave. One month left in the place that I had called “my school” for the past four years. You are probably thinking the same things I thought whenever it came down to only 30 days left. You’re probably scared, nervous, worried, or anxious. Maybe you’re like me and are dying to get out of high school, ready to start a new chapter. Or maybe you aren’t so ready yet. Maybe you’re wishing for a little more time.

As scary as it is, this month you have left will fly by. You’ll blink and you’ll be standing in your cap and gown, waiting for your name to be called to receive your diploma. You’ll look back on your last four years at your school and wonder why time went by so fast. It’ll be bittersweet. However, trust me when I say that you have so much to look forward to. You are about to begin taking the steps to build your future. You are going to grow and learn so much more than any high school class could teach you. You are going to meet amazing people and accomplish amazing things. So, as scared as you might be, I encourage you to take that first step out of your comfort zone and face this world head on. Chase your dreams and work towards your goals. You are smart. You are brave. You are capable of achieving amazing things. All your life, the lessons you have learned have prepared you for this point in your life. You are more than ready.

There are times when you will feel alone, scared, or confused. There are times when it won’t always be easy. But those are the times when you will shine the most because I know you will work through whatever problems you may face. Don’t think of the bad times as a terrible thing. Use them all as learning experiences. As author Joshua Marine once said, “Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.”

You might think that this is the end. However, it’s not. This is only the beginning. Trust me when I say that the adventures and opportunities you are about to face are nothing compared to high school. Whether you are going to college, going to work, or something else, this is the beginning of your journey called life. It will be exciting, it will be terrifying, but it will all be worth it.

So, as you walk out of your high school for the very last time, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Relax. You’ll always have the memories to look back on from high school. But your time is now, it begins today. Embrace it.

Cover Image Credit: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1152445/images/o-HIGH-SCHOOL-GRADUATION-facebook.jpg

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A Beginner's Guide to Milwaukee Sports

Part I: The Bucks

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Being a college student in Milwaukee has its perks, especially for sports fans. Now, while some may have brought their hometown teams to college, others (myself included) may have warmed up to the Cream City teams without knowing much about them. If this is the case for you, then these pointers can help you start enjoying Milwaukee basketball without looking and sounding like a bandwagon fan.

Quick History

www.nba.com

Here are some facts about the Bucks that can make you feel more knowledgeable about the franchise:

- They have only won one championship (back in 1971) and have lost one NBA Finals series (1974) (Land of Basketball)

- They have only had one* MVP-caliber player in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (#33) during the 1971, 1972, and 1974 seasons (Land of Basketball)

- Other Notable Players Include: Oscar Robertson (#1), Sidney Moncrief (#4), Jon McGlocklin (#14) and Ray Allen (#34) (Land of Basketball)

*Giannis Antetokounmpo may win the MVP award this year

sited: https://www.landofbasketball.com/teams/milwaukee_bucks.htm

Gear Up

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This one is a bit of a no-brainer. Wearing team's colors or spirit wear is a must, especially if you're going to a game. Most items like hats and t-shirts are perfectly acceptable, and these are great if you're not trying to break the bank. Buying your gear from a sporting goods store will usually be cheaper than buying them from the team store (the main one of which is located in Fiserv Forum). Most online stores like NBA.com, Fanatics, Fansedge, and sometimes even the team's online store will have sales on sports gear, so getting a good deal on team wear is always a plus!

A Word of Caution: Jerseys

All three of these players are not part of the 2018-2019 roster and #77 and #3 have been reused by current players Ersan Ilyasova (#77) and George Hill (#3)

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If you're willing to go the extra mile, buying a jersey can really get you into locked in and pumped for the live action. However, it should be kept in mind that official Nike NBA jerseys range from $110-$250, so they definitely are an investment. While there are other options available like the FastBreak jerseys by Fanatics, they are a simpler (still official) knockoff of the Nike jerseys. Also; beware buying sale jerseys. There are usually three reasons why jerseys are ever on sale (aside from a storewide sale): a player is injured, a player doesn't play much and is about to be traded, or a player has been traded. While there is nothing wrong with having the jersey of a player who went on to another team (like Kareem and Allen), you are not exactly going to get brownie points for wearing a Jabari Parker or a Thon Maker jersey anytime soon.

Know The Current Squad

Fiserv Forum, Home of the Milwaukee Bucks

www.nba.com

Everyone in Milwaukee has heard of Giannis Antetokounmpo, but who else is part of the supporting cast?

Starting Five for the 2018-2019 Milwaukee Bucks (Basketball Reference):

- #6 Eric Bledsoe at Point Guard

- #13 Malcolm "The President" Brogdon at Shooting Guard

- #22 Khris "Money" Middleton at Small Forward

- #34 Giannis "The Greek Freak" Antetokounmpo at Power Forward

- #11 Brook "Splash Mountain" Lopez at Center

Student Perk

www.nba.com

Using your university email, you can get special discount ticket offers for home games by signing up for the Bucks' Student Rush Program. Tickets usually start at $15 per ticket, and the seats available may depend on who the Bucks are playing (and how well they are doing during the season).

Get Involved and Have Fun!

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Don't be afraid to get into it! The Bucks are an amazing team to watch and they love Bucks Nation. In addition to cheering at games, going to team events and player appearances can be great ways to make memories and even get an autograph or two!

Are You a Bucks Fan Now?🦌

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I think Giannis would agree!

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