The fourth annual Dance Marathon was held January 31, 2015 at the Aberdeen Inverness dining hall. The student-led effort is sponsored by the student philanthropy group ’R Philanthropic Culture, and benefits the Guardian Scholars program at UCR. Guardian Scholars is a vital program which provides assistance to former foster youth who have beaten the odds and are working towards getting their education.
The benefitting program offers emotional support, financial support, and ensures that UCR students do not end up on the streets during holiday closures. When asked about the impact Dance Marathon has made on the program, the Guardian Scholars Coordinator, Alyssa Heckmann ’13 replied: “Dance Marathon has allowed our program security, sustenance, and stability. This security has meant the difference of running a program year to year, to having a program that could plan for years in advance. This has infiltrated the students to also be more forward thinking, to maturely plan for their future, and not worry about how they would get their next meal.”
In addition to supporting Guardian Scholars with scholarship funding, Dance Marathon has also provided funding used to create a food pantry where students in the program can stock up on necessities to keep them fed when the campus closes during the holidays, as well as toiletry supplies they are not able to afford on their own.
To participate in Dance Marathon, dancers must raise at least $25, although most contribute much more. By midnight, the Dance Marathon raised $29,848.05 for the Guardian Scholars Program and received a matching grant from the Pritzker Family Foundation of $25,000, for a total of $54,848.05. With donations still coming in, the total amount raised has been adjusted to over $55,000.
In its four-year history, Dance Marathon has raised more than $140,000 to support former foster youth at UCR. This year was the program’s best-attended event, with over 500 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members participating.
To donate directly to the Guardian Scholars fund, please visit the program’s giving opportunities page.