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(Fund)Raising For Riley: As CDM approaches, students reflect on methods of raising money

As Dance Marathon approaches, CHS students reflect on methods of raising funds.

Carson TerBush, News Reporter and Feature Copy Editor

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Every year, student government members set ambitious goals for Dance Marathon. According to the Riley Children’s Foundation website, Carmel Dance Marathon is the largest in the nation, and each year it continues to grow. The members of House, the CHS student government group that plans and fundraises for Dance Marathon, utilize multiple fundraising tactics to continue expanding CHS’s Dance Marathon legacy.

Zach Gartenhaus, House member and senior, said there are many ways to fundraise.

“Especially because Dance Marathon is in its 11th year this year, people have really learned how to be effective in raising their money. Emails work really well for some people, contacting businesses works really well for some people. It really just depends on the person. For me what’s been most successful is going door to door,” Gartenhaus said.

According to Sarah Wolff, student government sponsor and ceramics teacher, the relatively new use of online fundraising allows students to raise money more effectively and efficiently.

“When we started this, there was no online fundraising, and we had students doing letter writing campaigns with stamps. That’s so antiquated in the world now that we live in, but that is how we fundraised at the time. We would give students a form letter and we would ask them to fill it out and send it in the mail to their grandparents, and ask for a check. Now, with getting online with credit cards, it takes me less than a minute to donate,” Wolff said. “We’ve just evolved to try and make it easier for our students.” 

Each year, students consistently raise more and more money for Dance Marathon. According to Jackie Yang, Cabinet member and senior, the quotas for Cabinet and House members increase annually as well.

“Our quota (for Cabinet) this year is $1,000. To a lot of people that may seem like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s $1,000,’ but for us it’s a year-long process. We know that we’re going into it and usually people go way above $1,000,” Yang said. “People aren’t really stressed about it. With the amount of effort we put in, it’s almost impossible not to hit it. We go above and beyond it.”

Yang said the quota is raised annually to encourage Cabinet and House members to improve their fundraising efforts.

“Every year, we see that people are capable of making more money. For (Cabinet members) especially, we see that the minimum, what the quota is, that’s what people are going to strive for. If the minimum is $600, people are going to go for $600, and once they reach that $600 they’re like, I’ve hit it, I’m done. Us raising it every year just gives a little bit of a push.”

Wolff said the main goal of increasing expectations for fundraising is to increase the effort students put forth, not to try to “beat” the previous year’s amount. She said despite Dance Marathon’s history of topping its total each year, student government does not stress this aspect of fundraising.

“I’m sure there’s going to be a year where we don’t beat (the total), and for all I know it could be this year, I have no clue. To be quite honest, we have to get away from that, and we have to say, ‘Did we do all that we could for someone who needed it more than us?’ That’s the bottom line.”

According to Yang, Dance Marathon is beneficial to both the community and those who volunteer.

Yang said, “Kids these days feel like, ‘I’m just a kid, I’m just a teenager, what can I do?’ (Dance Marathon) is a way to show that you can do something. Yeah, it’s (only) $110, but that makes a change. You are doing something to make an indent on that board that goes up. You are up there. You are part of that. You are part of this change.”

Wolff said she agreed that fundraising for Dance Marathon benefits those who volunteer. However, she said volunteerism is important overall.

Wolff said, “I think it’s more important that you find something (you care about). Whether it’s the kids at Riley Hospital or something you have a passion for, take it and do something for somebody else other than you. Run with it and use what you’ve been given; your time, your talents and your treasures, and help something or somebody else that needs it.”

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