Annual Dance Marathon fundraiser scheduled for February

Alexander McCall

Appalachian State University’s service learning organization Appalachian and the Community Together has opened registration for its 11th annual Dance Marathon.

The fundraising event will benefit local families through community nonprofits Western Youth Network and Parent to Parent Family Support Network. Students who register are encouraged to raise a minimum of $150 – or $10 an hour – for the dancing celebration at Legends on Feb. 22.

Registration costs $10 and comes with a T-shirt, plus food and drinks at the event.

Not only will participants have a great time dancing, eating great food and taking part in themed activities, but they will be able to spend time with the children they are helping, said Dance Marathon recruitment team member Karson Collins.

“I think that it’s really life-changing,” Collins said. “A lot of people don’t realize what a dance marathon is until they get there.”

Struggling families of the High Country who benefit from the event will be present for a few hours at the marathon to hang out with participants and take part in the activities. This way, participants are able to put a face on where their contributions are going.

“You are there dancing for 15 hours, and to us, that’s a huge amount of time,” said Lauren Berryhill, Dance Marathon community partner liaison committee member. “You’re so low on energy at the end of the day, but these families go through continuous struggle all the time.”

This year’s Dance Marathon will end at 1 a.m., a change from the 2 a.m. closing of previous years, so that Safe Ride will be available to escort marathoners to their dorms at the end of the night.

ACT aims to bring in at least $20,000 in proceeds and recruit about 200 dancers. However, their main goal is to run a smooth event that engages students with the Boone Community, said ACT Associate Director Kate Johnson.

“The numbers aren’t important to us,” Johnson said. “Ultimately we want to have a great event that connects us to our community partners.”