‘For the kids’: Dance Marathon returns in person after raising money online
After a year of online fundraising for Shriners Children Hospital, Bulls For Kids (BFK) will return in person with its fundraising events and the upcoming 12-hour long dance marathon with a new challenge of finding a new hospital location to donate to in future years.
The organization remained active throughout the pandemic, continuing to raise money for patients at Shriners through online platforms.
It raised about $50,000 during the 2020-21 academic year with digital experiences such as fundraising push days, Venmo boards and virtual talent shows. This year, BFK has the goal to raise $60,000 through its various events, ending with Dance Marathon on March 5.
Dance Marathon will be held on the second floor of the Marshall Student Center, where BFK has rented out all of the rooms for the events. Event check-in will begin at 9:30 a.m. The marathon will start around 10:30 a.m. and end at 10 p.m.
It is open to everyone, and attendees are able to get their admission into the event by registering online, which does not close at any time.
BFK struggled to get as many students involved in 2021 as previous years, so BFK decided to try and reach a wider audience while fundraising this year.
“It’s going to be more diverse in the amount of dancers that we’ll have at Dance Marathon, which is really exciting for us because we have been really wanting to grow in that aspect,” Waid said.
BFK was also able to start fundraising earlier for the 2021-22 year by hosting virtual events over the summer. In-person fundraising events included a fall festival, flag football tournament and 5k.
All these events lead up to the Dance Marathon at the end of the year which encourages one final push to raise funds. At the end of the event, BFK will announce how much was raised.
Dance Marathon will take up the entire second floor of the MSC, with different events in each room. The dance floor, the bull pen and the merchandise table will be in the ballroom. The ballroom will host themed hours throughout the 12-hour event.
There will also be two escape rooms, a game room, an inspiration room where people can meet the kid captains and learn their stories, a family room for Shriners families to relax and a food room.
Hand sanitizer stations will be at the event and as attendees check in, they will receive a mask, according to Waid. There will be signage encouraging mask-wearing posted.
Typically, at the end of each year, BFK gives all the money raised to the Shriners Children’s Florida hospital. With the closure of this location April 1, BFK is still trying to determine where the funds will go in upcoming years with the intention of giving this year’s funds to Shriners, whether it be corporate or another location.
Next year’s Dance Marathon board will establish where funding will go. The decision will be made after the new board members are elected which will be shortly after this year’s Dance Marathon ends.
“Our donations are going to Shriners still, we’re just not 100% sure what Shriners location specifically or if it’s just going to the big corporate side of it,” Waid said.