Dance marathons support Riley Hospital for children

HANCOCK COUNTY — Two local schools are raising money for sick Hoosier children.

Mt. Vernon and Greenfield-Central high schools are hosting dance marathons to benefit Riley Hospital for Children, which opened in 1924 and has since become one of the top pediatric research hospitals in the country, serving an average of 30,000 patients each year.

Last year, the schools raised more than $13,000 to support Riley through fundraisers throughout the year and the dance marathons. This year, county students hope to bring in $15,000.

The National Honor Society at Mt. Vernon High School is sponsoring its event, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Friday, for student dancers, each who pitch in $5 to join in the fun.

Greenfield-Central’s event is open to the public from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the high school’s fieldhouse, and there’s no cost to enter. Money from food, T-shirt sales and a dodgeball tournament at the event will benefit the hospital.

Riley dance marathons have become popular fundraisers since the first one took place at Indiana University in 1991. Since then, colleges and high schools across the state have hosted events, bringing in millions of dollars to the hospital.

This year, Mt. Vernon students hope to raise $10,000, and they’re well on their way. They’ve already raised about $4,000, said senior Lily Erlewein. Greenfield-Central students hopes to match the $5,000 they raised last year. So far, about $2,600 has been raised through donations and fundraising events.

After participating in dance marathons when she was a student at IU, Greenfield-Central teacher Kim Gendron decided to introduce the idea to her students last year. This year, about 30 students are helping to plan the event, which will feature bounce houses, obstacle courses, face painting, a dodgeball tournament, food and visits from children who have been or are still patients at Riley.

For much of the school year, students at both schools have been raising money through personal and school-wide fundraisers.

This week, Greenfield-Central participants are carrying around Riley buckets, asking their peers and family to donate money to the hospital.

Greenfield-Central sophomores Whitney Bishop and Kayla Smith said Saturday’s dance marathon will offer something for everyone to enjoy. They hope community members attend to support for the hospital.

Erlewein said the event at Mt. Vernon, which will include dancing, a bounce house, a bean bag toss, henna tattoos and face-painting, will be fun for students, who will be able to leave class earlier to attend while supporting children in need.

“We’re helping them have a better life,” Erlewein said. “We’re paying for smiles.”

At a glance

Greenfield-Central and Mt. Vernon high schools are planning dance marathons for this weekend to raise money for Riley Hospital for Children.

Greenfield-Central’s event event is open to the public and begins at 2 p.m. Saturday at the high school fieldhouse. There’s no cost to enter, but money raised from food and T-shirt sales and a dodgeball tournament will be donated to the hospital. The event lasts until 8 p.m.

Mt. Vernon’s event is reserved for student participants.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.