By Savannah Cooper | Staff Writer
Starting tonight, Russell Gym will be the temporary host of one of Baylor’s biggest dance parties throughout the year. From 6 p.m. Friday night to 2 a.m. Saturday morning, the BU Dance Marathon, BU-THON, will take place.
Three years ago, For The Kids began on campus with the overall goal of fundraising year-round and donating all proceeds to their partner, Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center in Temple. Their main event each year is the BU-THON, which has a goal of raising $20,000 for the children’s hospital, and consists of volunteers and dancers alike coming together to provide a night of fun for the children from Baylor Scott & White.
From 60 participants to now over 150 participants, members of For The Kids have been so excited to see the growth of their organization as well as seeing where their funds manifesting into children’s lives.
Tampa senior Deja Benjamin, president of For the Kids, has been working on fundraising efforts along with narrowing down the itinerary for the eight-hour dance party. She said she is excited about the marathon and hopes everyone enjoys themselves at the event.
“I’m looking forward to the dance marathon,” Benjamin said. “I hope everybody who comes to have a good time and I want the kids to enjoy the event too, filled with eight hours of dancing.”
Washington, D.C. junior Amy Kumar, vice president of operations, handles the logistics of the event such as ordering food, getting event stuff ready and getting plates set making sure everything is set for the day of. She said she is looking forward to having a glow-in-the-dark themed dance party that’s for a good cause.
“They can expect a lot of fun, it’s going to be a great community,” Kumar said. “We’re having a glow-in-the-dark theme, we’re going to have glow sticks. Come expected to dance and meet the children to see where all their money is going toward. Our money is really affecting our partner hospital in Temple and being apart of the community is such a great feeling.”
Outside of just an energetic environment, Benjamin said she knows people can also expect the night to be heartfelt.
“They can expect lots of music, lots of dancing, lots of fun and then also probably lots of emotion,” Benjamin said. “It gets kind of emotional after the families go up and talk about the hospital and talk about their family. It’s really nice actually to see at the end of the day who you’re helping and what your money is going to.”
Kumar has been involved with For The Kids since it began, and said she has been amazed year after year by the willingness of Baylor students to participate.
“At first it’s really hard to ask college students, ‘Hey can you spare your coffee and give five dollars,’ but most people are almost always willing to help out and it’s been really heartwarming to see our community grow,” Kumar said.
All sign-ups for volunteers are filled, but registration for dancers is open leading up to the event. Registration is $15 and it come with a T-shirt and food throughout the night including Pokey-O’s, Chick-Fil-A and Raising Cane’s.
“We just hope that everyone can come out to the event and just see we support For The Kids and support the hospital,” Benjamin said.