‘For the Kids’?

RDM loses their signature phrase


Ayslin Bowman

RDM meets in the cafeteria on Sept. 8. This was their first committee-specific meeting.

SHS social worker and RDM (Riley Dance Marathon) advisor Jorie Depalma was sent an email on May 4, which gave a very non-specific explanation saying that Children’s Miracle Networks, which according to Depalma, is the “overarching fundraising umbrella” for children’s hospitals, can no longer use the phrase “FTK.” 

According to Depalma, the Children’s Miracle Network never specifically stated that Penn State University Dance Marathon was the one to trademark it. Instead, she had to find out on her own when researching it.

 “All the communication we’ve gotten, none of it has ever spelled out that it was Penn State that had trademarked it, it just said that someone had trademarked the term “FTK”, so we were having to phase out,” Depalma said.

SHS’s longtime and well known chant “FTK,” is no longer allowed to be used for Riley Dance Marathon. Instead, SHS has the option to either use “Kids Can’t Wait” or “Change Kids Health.”

According to RDM president Elliott Brown, the new taglines that were made, “Kids Can’t Wait” and “Change Kids Health,” were created by the Children’s Miracle Network. 

“The new phrases just don’t sound the same, it’s not as effective and in the Southport community, they knew us as “For the Kids” that’s what you said when you donated or when you wanted a donation. So it’s really hard not to say it or like it when I’m asking people for donations for miracle minutes.” Brown said. 

Depalma says that although it is sad news, she is trying to motivate students into viewing this as a good thing and as a chance to renew their image. 

“I’m just trying to encourage our students to look at it as a rebranding,” Depalma said. 

Depalma said she went through a variation of emotions once hearing the news. 

“It is kind of sad,” Depalma said. “I mean,we’ve gone through all the emotions of being sad and angry. It’s a thing, I mean everyone knows (FTK) here,” Depalma says. 

The members of RDM here at SHS are not very happy with the new trademarks calling “Kids’ Can’t Wait” and “Change Kids Health,” ineffective, annoying and awkward.  

“It’s kind of annoying because I don’t see the point in the college trademarking it because everyone used it, so I just don’t understand why they did it. It just makes it harder for everyone else,” Director of entertainment and junior  Ben Henderson said. 

Depalma says when first using the new taglines it could be a little uncomfortable due to the atmosphere they have created around “FTK,” but is very excited about all the possibilities branding the new slogans can bring.

 “It does feel a little awkward at first, and I know we really created a culture around FTK and I signed emails that way. We put it on everything; the hashtags, on all our social media, it’s on every dance marathon t-shirt.” Depalma said. 

Depalma was a bit confused at first on the trademarking of it, she had thought a company of some sort may trademarked it not knowing its impact, but she was pretty set back once she found out it was Penn State who had trademarked it. 

I feel like it’s pretty selfish,” Depalma said. 

While SHS students can not use “FTK” on t-shirts or in hashtags anymore, that will not stop SHS students from continuing to chant it at RDM miricle minutes or any other function related to RDM. Brown says students can still use the phrase “FTK” but only in an audible way. 

“It’s more of an outloud thing, rather than on paper or on social media,” Brown said.

Although they see all the good things that could come from the new taglines, RDM members are still upset with the trademarking of “FTK.” They just do not understand Penn State University Dance Marathon’s decision to trademark this phrase. 

“I think it’s kind of selfish for a Dance Marathon to take a phrase that’s benefiting the same exact thing, that we’re benefitting, like it’s all for one cause, I don’t know why you would try to separate yourself from that cause,” Brown said. “It doesn’t sound very ‘For the Kids’ to me.”