Archive for the 'Dance' Category

Florida Local Bands Perform to Benefit Middle School Music Department

Fourteen local bands volunteered for a unique fundraiser for the music department of L.A. Ainger Middle School in Rotonda West, Florida. The second annual “Music Extravaganza” was held at the Pioneer Park in Englewood for the weekend of November 24th and 25th.

The theme was “Pay it Forward.” Event proceeds, including T-shirts and calendar sales will benefit the music department at the middle school. Last year’s fundraiser benefited the band department of Lemon Bay High School in Englewood and raised $5,400. The committee aims to raise funds for schools in both Charlotte and Sarasota counties.

Calendars and T-shirts are still available at local stores, including Stevens the Florist South, Rubber Tree Carpet and Tile and at Serenity Coffee House.


Dance Marathons: a Fundraiser That Gets Everyone Involved

Does the idea of a dance marathon make you think of sock-hopping teens in a high school gym from the 1950’s, swaying together to that new sound of rock and roll for hours? Well dance marathons are popular around the country, and they are an excellent way for schools to raise money and for students to show school pride while being involved in a high-energy fundraiser. is fortunate to have two schools, the Washington University of St. Louis and Indiana University to share their tips on what makes a dance marathon successful.

The Washington University at St. Louis Dance Marathon, called St. Louis Area Dance Marathon has been running for nine years. “In the first year, the dance marathon consisted of about 100 dancers who each raised approximately $100 each. Last year more than 600 dancers took part in the event to raise a total over $123,000,” said Meredith Pierce, Director of Communications.

The Indiana University Dance Marathon was established in 1991 — 2007 will be their 17th year. Jill Stewart, a former Indiana University student established the marathon in honor of her close friend Ryan White, a Riley Hospital for Children patient who contracted HIV during a blood transfusion. “Ryan helped raise the level of consciousness of an entire nation towards the plight of those suffering from the AIDS virus and other infectious disease and our marathon and the center were started in his honor,” said Carly Dachis, Director of Public Relations for Indiana University.

A Dance Marathon Needs Volunteers In Many Different Roles

The dance marathon executive board has 23 full-time students that volunteer their time year-round to plan and execute all dance marathon-related activities. “We need about 100 volunteers on the day-of to help us run our dance-a-thon. They help us with check-in processes, security (of belongings and of participants), set-up and tear-down,and food service, as well as other smaller tasks for which we need a few extra hands during the day,” said Greg Perlstein, Executive Director for the Washington University at St. Louis Dance Marathon.

Interviews are conducted for new Executive Board Members during the end of November. “We start meeting as a board in January. A lot of people do not realize that Dance Marathon is a year long event. During the spring semester we are busy not only goal setting, bonding and planning for the fall and the event, but also fundraising. We try to get most everything planned before Fall semester starts. When Fall semester comes around we do not have to worry about administrative or planning details, we can simply execute our plans,” said Pierce.

The Indiana University Dance Marathon has a hierarchy and everyone involved has a different role and a position that is important. “The first is the Riley Kids. The Riley families will attend our marathon and share their stories throughout the weekend and all our efforts and goals relate directly for them. Second is our dancers. Our marathon will expect to have 1,000 dancers (2006 exceeded that number). Our dancers stand and are awake for 36 hours and are the foundation of our event. Without them, our efforts would not be as strong and successful as they are. Dancers must raise at least $400 to dance however most raise much more. Third is our Committee Members- Indiana University Dance Marathon has 375 hardworking committee members divided throughout 15 different committees. Most members have danced before however it is not required to be on a committee. Fourth is our Directors. There are 15 directors who lead each of the committees; we are divided into 4 focus groups, each led by a VP on the Board of Managers. Fifth is our Board of Managers- includes: VP of: Communication, Internal, External and Finance. Sixth is our President which is a student-held position,” said Dachis. “Separate from the dancers and committee members we have two other new positions: Ryan’s Angles and Security. R.A.’s are short-term dancers intended to motivate our dancers and help out and participate throughout the time they are on the floor. Security is committee members and other volunteers ensuring the safety and structure of our students during the 36 hours.” said Dachis of Indiana University. continue reading

Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) Fundraiser for Schools

“We were looking for a way to involve ourselves in a healthy fundraising initiative. We’re challenging ourselves and we’re challenging the industry to change the fund-raising habits of the schools. I personally purchased DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for a company I had, to involve two 13-year-olds and I found it a wonderful vehicle for fitness,” said Elena Mildenberger, President of CD Resources and Founder of Digital-Dance-A-Thon.

The YMCA that her fund-raising company was working with had recently raised a lot of money using cookie dough as a fund-raiser to support their healthy kid campaign. They were looking for a healthy alternative for cookie dough.

Working with the YMCA, trying to solve their needs, Mildenberger conceptualized the Digital-Dance-A-Thon which uses the Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) video equipment. She is President and Founder of CD Resources, a 7-year-old fund-raising company. “We originally supplied educational CD ROMs as a supplier to the industry, and the products did not sell well. We then became a distributor. We then sold cookie dough, candles and discount cards. We have been a traditional fund-raising distributor. But I saw a need in the industry for a healthy alternative and Digital-Dance-A-Thon meets that need well.”

There is a patent pending for Digital-Dance-A-Thon. The company started in March 2006 and they are off to a great start. Digital-Dance-A-Thon ran two dance-a-thons in May 2007 and interest has exploded for the coming school year — they are projecting September bookings for over 200 schools.

DDR is Popular With Schools Across the Country As a Great Exercise

Schools are getting excited about Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) as a healthy way for children to exercise. They know that children enjoy the fun and fast-paced thrills of video games. Children can get the benefits of exercise while enjoying the fun of a video game while playing DDR.

The State of Hawaii Education Department has purchased DDR equipment for every Middle and High School, and they are looking for funding for Elementary Schools. West Virginia also equipped nearly all Middle and High Schools and looking to equip Elementary Schools,” said the challenge with funding for Elementary Schools is there are so many more of them.

Mildenberger went to a kickoff event for the fundraiser at two elementary schools. “I got playfully mugged by the kids. One young man about 10 took me by the arms and guided me to the room I had to go to, the kids were excited to see DDR at the school. The volume of excitement was heartwarming. One site had 50 kids, other site had 30 kids. When we heard back from the director we heard that the kids were pestering the parents to buy the DDR for at home,” said Mildenberger.

The Biggest Fund-raising Challenge For Any Fund-raiser: Participation Becomes Easy

“The traditional challenge with a school fundraiser is getting the kids to participate, that’s the biggest challenge, to get the participation rate up. We’ve got a built-in advantage because the kids are so excited about DDR. A walk a thon has the challenge of weather, but with DDR you are inside,” said Mildenberger

“Schools look towards healthy fund-raisers; they then cut out the cookies and candy as fundraisers. There are several healthy fundraiser ideas like bike a thons and walk a thons. The best thing about DDR is that you are introducing the school and the kids to an exciting opportunity that the kids can take home with them,” said Mildenberger.

Mildenberger remembers her own childhood where she would play until the street lights went out outside and she feels that children just don’t do that anymore.  “One of the challenges with the childhood obesity issue is that the kids have a lot of fun stuff to do indoors. When I was growing up there were three channels on the television and it’s certainly not like that anymore with video games and everything,” said Mildenberger.

Introducing students to DDR gives them something to do that has incredible fitness benefits. It brings families together, parents can compete against their kids doing DDR at home.  Mildenberger likes to sign every e-mail she sends out with: Children doing DDR: healthy hilarity; Parents doing DDR just plain funny; The Principal doing DDR: priceless.

Planning Your Digital-Dance-A-Thon Fundraiser

Schools raise money by having children obtain sponsors for their DDR participation. Many schools also consider offering the children prizes based on how much they are able to fund-raise. The prizes offered by CD Resources are all prizes that are based on leading a healthy lifestyle, but of course a school can create their own prizes. Kids always get excited about the idea of winning a prize.

It’s recommended that schools plan their Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) fund-raiser two to three weeks ahead of time for best results. If you plan it too short, they won’t have time to collect as much. If you plan it for too long — they forget about it.

Mildenberger admits that we are early in the life of the Digital-Dance-A-Thon. “Schools are raising an average of $30 per child. So a school with 600 kids would raise $18,000. Now results may vary, it really depends on the school. But we did a cookie dough fund-raiser with one school, and then DDR raised 50% more than the cookie dough for the West Coast, Florida school.”

CD Resources charges a fee for services and licensing of the concept. The fee is a maximum of $1,500. It is 20% of the first $5,000 collected, 10% of the following $5,000 collected and nothing after that amount.

The equipment for running this fund-raiser can cost about $400. A school will need a Sony Playstation 2, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2 or Dance Dance Revolution Super NOVA, 8MB memory card, Energy Super Deluxe Foam Pads or Red Octane Ignition 3.0 Foam Dance Pads. You can purchase all of these materials through CD Resources for $405 plus shipping and tax. Another great idea is to simply borrow a Sony PlayStation 2 from someone from your school, and someone may already have the Dance Dance Revolution game as it is a very popular game.

“We are proud of what we’re doing, that’s important when you get up in the morning, we are thrilled to have this opportunity,” said Mildenberger

Digital-Dance-A-Thon can be visited at their website, or contacted at: