Dance Marathon: Kick up your heels to help a child

By Michelle Schmidt for Inland360.com

If still another jog-a-thon fundraiser sounds more like a yawn-a-thon to you, it may be time to step things up and head to this Saturday’s 10-hour Northwest Children’s Home Dance Marathon.

The fundraising event works just like the classic walk- or jog-a-thon. Participants collect donations from sponsors, except instead of walking or jogging, they put their best moves on the dance floor.

Their goal is to stay on their feet the entire 10 hours, taking a stand in partnership with the organization and the children it serves.

“We wanted to try something new that would fun and exciting,” said Erika Allen, director of development at Northwest Children’s Home.

As fundraiseres, dance marathons have gained in popularity in recent years. They are most common on college and university campuses, said Allen, and typically benefit a children’s charitable organization.

Many participants have registered online and collected money from friends and family, a process made easier by an automatic connection to Facebook and Twitter. Each dancer is asked to work towards raising $200, the cost of caring for one child for one day.

“So, in essence, we’re asking each of them to dance for a child,” said Allen.

A registration fee helps cover event costs, but donations  will help the organization meet its goal of raising $100,000. Allen believes that 300 participants will be necessary.

But this event will be no cake walk. Ten hours is a long time for anyone to be on their feet, much less dancing for the better portion of that time.

Event planners have made sure that slow moments will be few and brief. The genre-of-the-hour music sets will move dancers through 50’s sock hop, country, pop, group dances and more. Ida Vend Broadcasting is MCing the event with DJs from KRLC, Y105, and The Outlaw 106.9.

Along with local DJs, several performers, including Big Newton, Main Street Dance and River City Dance, will be there to keep the crowds energized and moving. The event is expected to wrap up with a flash mob dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

With fun as a main priority, it isn’t uncommon for participants – or even full teams – to arrive in costume. Special event volunteers, called moralers, will also be around to pass out fun props, coordinate group dances and keep dancers motivated.

Besides the fun aspect of the event, staff from the organization will talk about working with the kids in the home, a treatment center for emotionally and behaviorally impaired youth between six and 17 years of age.

“It’s a good way to spread awareness,” said Allen.

Individuals or teams can pre-register online until Friday night, which helps with event planning. But  those who show up on Saturday with a registration fee and donation will be welcomed. Those who want to help but can’t – or don’t wish to – show off their dance moves can register as a virtual dancer, collect sponsors, and dance within the privacy of their own home or imagination.

If you go:

What: Northwest Children’s Home Dance Marathon When: Saturday, Oct. 27. Registration begins at 10 a.m.. Event kicks off at noon. Where: Nez Perce County Fair Building, Lewiston Cost: Registration fee is $25. Dancers are expected to make a donation. Pre-register online at www.nch.kintera.org

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  • Brad Upton

    @ Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center

    Sat., June 19, 7 p.m.