All the way FTK

Riley Dance Marathon allows members to build strong relationships


Noah Thomas

Seniors Alyssa Hightower, Aubrey Popovic and Alyssa Smith work on labeling the “No-Shave November” buckets for the teachers who took part in the fundraiser in November of 2018.

From fundraisers to donation pages to marathons, high school and college students from all across Indiana dedicate hours on end to raising money for children who have had experiences at Riley Hospital. SHS students involved in this foundation for a number of reasons, including to build a strong team, to show leadership or simply just for the kids.

Students at SHS know about what RDM members do to raise money, like the “No-Shave November” challenge, boutique sales and the Christmas treat Little Debbie sales. What students may not know about RDM, though, is what inspires these students to be involved in such a cause.

President of RDM, Elizabeth Lamkin, believes that RDM members stay involved just to bring a sense of kindness to the people around them.

“I think some people see the bigger picture that they are doing something good for someone besides themselves,” Lamkin said. “I know that is what keeps me involved, grounded and gives me some perspective.” She also believes that RDM helps students build up on the importance of selflessness.

For junior Caitlin Lindbeck, the current director of recruitment for RDM, her inspiration to join came from when her neighbor, who recently graduated, told her about it. Lindbeck learned more about what RDM is and instantly realized that she wanted to be involved, even if it meant being overwhelmed at times.

“Sometimes throughout the year we get stressed out,” Lindbeck said. “Then we remind ourselves that this is for the kids who can’t always do what we do.”

Lindbeck believes that RDM has opened her eyes to see more than she could imagine. Being a part of RDM is something that allowed a new passion to bloom for her, which is helping others.

RDM is not only about fundraising, but it is also a chance for students to build on different skills, like teamwork and leadership. There are multiple committees with different directors who lead a small group of students throughout the year. The directors make sure that the team members are keeping track of what they raise as well as different tasks they need to fulfill. According to Lindbeck, this has given her the responsibility to make sure that everyone knows what is going on and that people stay involved all year.

Riley Hospital has helped thousands and thousands of children across the state, including RDM member Meghan Mendel, whose younger sister, Kari, was at Riley after the doctor’s found that she had a brain tumor. After two years since her sister was cleared, Mendel can still see the impact that Riley had on her and her family, so she wanted to do the same for others.

“I got to see how other people affected her by raising money for RDM,” Mendel said. “I decided that since they made such a big impact on her medical experience that I would join RDM to do the same for other kids.” With this, Mendel found a new meaning in donating and just like many other RDM members, hopes to make a difference in numerous people’s lives.

With a group of encouraging directors and a dedicated team, SHS’s board for RDM has been able to raise thousands of dollars for the Riley Children’s Foundation. In December, members were even able to collect 1,027 toys for children at Riley. This would not have been accomplished without members loyal to lending a helping hand to children in need.