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Florida State University Senior Receives 2019 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Awar

From the thousands of graduating seniors who have participated in Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the approximately 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, twenty students were selected to receive the 2019 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon program, on their individual campus and for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. To see all of this year’s recipients, click here

Hometown: Cooper City, Florida

Degree(s): Bachelor of Science in Finance

Dance Marathon Involvement: Over the course of my four years involved with Dance Marathon at Florida State University, I have collectively raised $5,600, including $3,100 this past year alone, and served as a Dance Marathon Volunteer (2016), a fundraising participant (2017), a Team Captain (2018), and a Financial Coordinator (2019).

Campus/Community Involvement: Financial Management Association; Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity (Executive Board & Philanthropy Chair)

Awards/Recognition: Florida State University Greek Service Award

Post-Graduation Plans: My goal is to be a Financial Analyst.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

My “why” for DM has evolved from year to year. At first, I joined Dance Marathon because I always had a soft spot for helping out for those in need. When entering college, I wanted to continue with my passion and get involved with an organization that did just that. Out of all the philanthropic and service organizations the people of Dance Marathon is what really convinced me to get involved. The passion the leadership spoke with truly showed how important this cause was to them and all of those benefited by it. My “why” then was formed the first time I stepped into the marathon in 2016. Having a chance to meet the kids and their families that I was helping really struck a nerve. I have helped out in the past but never truly knew where my money was going. That all changed with DM. I was able to hear from first hand resources about everything that my organization and I was able to provide. When you hear the words “my child would not be alive if it wasn’t for Dance Marathon” that will always be in your head. There is truly no other organization on campus that has as much of an impact as Dance Marathon does. Ever since my first marathon I have danced for the kids, and the sense of hope I am able to provide to parents. I dance so kids only have to worry about being kids.

What personal accomplishment/contribution are you most proud of from your involvement in Dance Marathon?

Dance Marathon has awarded me with the opportunity to inspire my peers and have them find their “why” as well. It all started when I was given the chance to lead my fraternity as our team delegate in 2017. From the minute I was given this position, I put taking my fraternity to the next level in regard to becoming a notable organization within Dance Marathon as a top priority. I reached out to all of my brothers every single day in order to put them in a position to do well and in turn make an impact on Dance Marathon’s success. As delegate I was able to increase my chapter’s participation by 13 members as well as increasing our fundraising efforts by $4,000. While these quantitative measures have a nice ring to them, the fact that I inspired a whole new group of individuals to love and support a cause as much as I do meant so much more. I then saw that I was able to inspire others and help them realize how much good the organization Dance Marathon does. I then made it my mission to bring up my involvement with Dance Marathon to every person I came into contact with. By doing this I can proudly say that I have personally been the reason so many of my friends and classmates have gotten involved with my favorite organization at Florida State. With that being said, I can say proudly say that my biggest achievement and contribution is having the privilege of empowering my generation to fight for the next.

Members of Tau Kappa Epsilon at Dance Marathon at Florida State University’s annual Dance Marathon event.

How has Dance Marathon impacted you as a student leader? What specific skills have you developed during your involvement?

Dance Marathon has truly explained to me the meaning of leadership. Through the two positions I have held within DM, I have realized that being a leader is not just holding a higher up position and giving orders to those below you, but rather being in a position to be able to put those around you in a spot to do well. Before my roles in Dance Marathon, my leadership skills were very raw, but now I can confidently say that they are very polished. I am poised, understanding, personable, and knowledgeable. Year after year I have become more direct, and confident when in a leadership role. Compared to the beginning of my leadership career, I am now confident in my ability to help others be where they need to be in order to reach new heights and contribute to the overall good. Holding the roles of team delegate and financial coordinator made me a better leader and mentor. I am eager to hold and succeed in leadership roles in the future and I will fully be able to attribute my success in them to Dance Marathon.

Kevin and members of the DM at FSU Finance Team after their 2019 event.

How have you seen your Dance Marathon’s fundraising make an impact at your local CMN Hospital?

During my 4 years of participating in Dance Marathon, I was fortunate enough to tour Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida twice.It was here that I got to witness exactly what all the funds were going towards. Seeing all of the incredible equipment and even a playroom for the kids to enjoy during their hospital visit really confirmed that I was doing exactly what I wanted to do when I entered college. While on a hospital tour it was easy to realize how much Dance Marathon was able to fund in the hospital. One of the coolest things, was how each piece of equipment that was funded by Dance Marathon was marked with a DM sticker. Walking the hospital, I was able to spot at least one sticker per floor proving that DM helps pay for so much. The tour guides were also very informative describing specific impacts that DM has made at Shands. One of these impacts was the machine known as the iron long. This device allows for a patient waiting for a lung transplant to stay alive and breathing until an organ is found. It was amazing to hear that if it weren’t for Dance Marathon’s efforts, a life-saving piece of technology like this might have not been in the hospital and in turn not have saved as many lives as it has. Other than medical equipment I learned that DM helps raise funds for the Child Life program at Shands. This program helps children and their families cope and assists them in properly handling the tough life that comes along with being treated in a hospital. Some might think that all DM does is fund equipment, but it also provides a lot of little things. Items like toys, and movies are funded to ensure children at Shands still have the opportunity to still have fun even while they are being treated in a hospital. A miracle family even emphasized that the bed the family slept on and the washing machine that they were able to use was all funded by Dance Marathon. These items make it so much easier for a family to stay in a hospital with their child and tend to them rather than worrying about minor issues that might take the love and attention away from a child that is in a serious need of such affection. Over the years I have learned about and seen first-hand the huge impact that Dance Marathon makes at my local CMN Hospital.

Why should students get involved with Miracle Network Dance Marathon on their campus?

I would encourage every single student to get involved with Dance Marathon in some capacity. First off, the peers you will be surrounded with are the most incredible people that you could ever meet. There is not a group of individuals more selfless than Dance Marathon participants. You will quickly learn that a DM participant will do anything for you or anyone else in need no matter the circumstance. In addition, if there is an opportunity to be bigger than yourself, you should take it. Participating in DM will give you the opportunity to meet families, volunteer in events all year long, tutor grade school students, and help out in unimaginable ways. After completing a year full of Dance Marathon activities, a participant will be able to say that they truly did everything they could have to help out those in need. It will soon be apparent to everyone who dances that the impact you make on so many people goes far beyond the number that is fundraised. I would promise anyone that becomes involved with DM, that if they work day in and day out to do everything they can for this cause, they will leave a giant footprint on this earth and give their life a bigger purpose than they thought was even possible.

Kevin following his graduation from Florida State University in May 2019.

 


Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools across North America that fundraise for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 1991, Miracle Network Dance Marathon has raised more than $250 million–ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

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