Students Have Fun While Raising Money for the Kids at Riley Hospital


Nick Meacham

Los bailarines, sophomore Kourtney Cristensen (izquierda) y freshman Nicole Whitman (derecha) participan en el último baile del maratón. The dancers, sophomore Kourtney Christensen (left) and freshman Nicole Whitman (right ) participate in the marathon last dance .

Riley Dance Marathon is a staple of the SHS school year and was held again on April 16. The student directors, in conjunction with RDM’s committee members and Southport’s administration, organize many different activities and work year round to prepare for the marathon in April.

Students and staff work together to spread the word about RDM and collect as much money as possible up until the last minute of the marathon. Once the marathon comes to a close, the total resets to zero, and the next year’s planning and fundraising starts immediately. , All of the funds are donated to Riley Hospital for Children because no organizational money is spent on the marathon.

“We don’t have a budget. Everything we have is strictly donated,” said DePalma, director of RDM at SHS.

Not only is money raised by the dance marathon, but also during other events throughout  the entire year. Some of these include the kickball tournament in May, blood drives, Wrap for Riley, a garage sale, a pizza sale, as well as other events. Students also have donation accounts in which people deposit money that is then forwarded to Riley.

This year, as in previous years, RDM included six hours of eating, dancing, and fun-filled activities, games, and music. In addition, several of the Riley kids made appearances. The theme for this year’s event was inspired by Disney characters. Although participants were not required to dance, they at least had to stand the entire 6 hours out of respect for Riley patients who cannot walk.

“It’s a totally selfless event,” Depalma said.

While many students participate in RDM, the committee would like to see better turnouts in the future. Current attendance rates average around 200, but the committee continues to encourage more student involvement.

RDM can help students as well. Many colleges have Riley programs all over the country, and students who get involved in their high school’s RDM are likely to participate in college-level committees as well. Southport’s RDM feeds into IU’s program, which also supports other high schools around the state.

“They fall in love with it (RDM) here, and then they go on to do it somewhere else,” Depalma said.

Seniors Jaclyn Boyer and Caroline Chappel, are the current co-presidents of SHS RDM . They devote a lot of time overseeing the organization of  the event  to make sure everyone is  up to date on their tasks.

According to Boyer, RDM has stayed relatively the same size regarding the number of participants, but the organization has raised much more money than in the past. She says the methods of fundraising have evolved since she joined the committee.

Boyer enjoys the aspects of helping her community and bringing people together through RDM. She would like to see more student involvement schoolwide in all aspects of RDM, even from those who may not have as much time as others.

“There are ways for you to fundraise all year and to sign up and actually get involved at the marathon,” Boyer said.

The RDM committee looks forward to many more successful events, which are all #FTK.