Dance Marathon at Florida State University

A volunteering interview by: Alexander Randolph

Reid Nelson volunteered for the Dance Marathon at the Florida State University during March of 2014. The general explanation of this volunteer service is that for twenty four hours a group of people, in this case students from Florida State University, must remain standing the entire time. The goal of this is to raise money for children with cancer who are unable to stand for themselves. This kind of event is similar to a “relay for life” type of fundraiser where the participants are required and encouraged to raise money for the cause. In order to enter the place where the dance takes place the volunteers must raise one hundred fifty dollars for the cause. While inside of the room, in this case the gymnasium, where the marathon is taking place dancers (volunteers) are able to buy or receive certain luxuries by either purchasing them or having friends, family, or other donators donate money to the dance marathon. Basically, Reid’s responsibilities were to raise money for the organization, and once at the dance marathon, to remain standing for twenty four hours straight. As a volunteer at the dance, Reid helped to raise over seven hundred thousand dollars for finding a cure for cancer. This years dance marathon was a record breaking year for the organization at Florida State University which is a huge success for dance marathons.

The Inspiration

Reid Nelson volunteered for the Dance Marathon at the Florida State University during March of 2014 which is an annual event which raises money for Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. The general explanation of this volunteer service is that for twenty four hours a group of people, in this case students from Florida State University, must remain standing the entire time. The goal of this is to raise money for children with cancer who are unable to stand for themselves. Reid came across this unique organization and volunteer opportunity while doing research on how students can get involved around campus. The thing that most inspired Reid to volunteer for this organization was that he had seen how much success the Dance Marathon had over the past few years that it came to Tallahassee and Florida State University. Over the past few years combined at only Florida State University Dance Marathon has raised millions of dollars for Shands Children’s Hospital and this past success helped Reid to decide on Dance Marathon because it he felt that his time would mean the most there. In addition to this motivation, throughout the twenty four hour shift as a dancer, families who have been directly aided by money raised by Dance Marathon in years past have an opportunity to tell the volunteers and dancers about their personal story. This really impacted Reid because of how personal it made this fundraising event. The event made roughly $800,000 last year. Reid really enjoyed the time that he spent volunteering with Shands Children’s Hospital and the Dance Marathon at Florida State and is planning on attending it again in the spring of 2015.

The Aha! moment…

During Reid Nelson’s time in March of 2014 volunteering at the Dance Marathon at Florida State University he learned how important it is to volunteer and make an impact in your community and, most importantly, that helping other people is, “the best feeling that you can have”. He also learned important skills such as self discipline because the volunteers are not permitted to sit down or take any type of break from standing for the entire twenty four hours. Reid also learned how to motivate people by being positive. This is extremely important during the Dance Marathon because since people are not allowed to sit down or sleep, tensions can run high and a cool head in very helpful for everybody involved. While participating Dance Marathon Reid also learned how to successfully organize a non profit fund raising activity. In addition to leaning all of this Reid has motivated his friends to participate in the event in the coming year. Also, Reid believes that Dance Marathon is such a successful organization because of the people it targets. These people are mostly young college students who can be inspired and really try to make a difference. This successful tactic used by Dance Marathon has also taught Reid that this is the most important things to do when trying to start and operate a successful business. Reid is extremely grateful for Dance Marathon for teaching him these skills.

To summarize it in three words…

Heart-warming, Gratifying, Compassion

Why should you do this

Reid recommends volunteering like this because of how personalized the volunteer work is for you.

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