They Did What?

Mar 15, 2022

The other day a post popped up on my Facebook feed saying that the students involved with the Carmel High School Dance Marathon had broken the previous record for money raised. The post proudly displayed the total: $510,495.19 raised for Riley Children’s Hospital. 


 Think about that for a minute. A group of high school students raised over a half of a million dollars during a twelve-month campaign. If you aren’t familiar with the Dance Marathon, let me give you the overview.  In 1991, a group of students from Indiana University held the first Dance Marathon in honor of a fellow student, Ryan White. Ryan passed away after contracting AIDS/HIV during a blood transfusion. The intention was to raise money for Indianapolis-based Riley Children’s Hospital. This idea spread to other colleges and eventually into high schools. Today there are hundreds of colleges and high schools across the United States that are following the lead of this original group of students and raising money for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. 


Here is how it works. A group of  students take the lead and organize a variety of fundraising events over a twelve-month period. They put on everything from golf tournaments, to fashion shows, to talent contests, to car washes.  The culminating event is a Dance Marathon for the students of their particular school.  I have first-hand knowledge because my youngest daughter, Isabella, was part of this leadership group during her time in high school (Full disclosure--She was part of the group of kids that held the previous record at Carmel High School) and she has assumed a leadership role in the Purdue University’s Dance Marathon this year. I have to say that the things they accomplish and, more importantly, the attributes these kids display are truly inspiring. They are creative, committed, hardworking, and compassionate kids. They have servants' hearts and are willing to step up and lead.  


When I see these teenagers in action, I experience a renewed sense of hope for our future. 

Also, it reminds me that it is easy to underestimate the abilities of our teenagers. This is a perfect example of the power of perspective. If you believe that your teenager is not mature enough, not capable of solving problems for themselves, or self centered, guess what you will see when you look at them? A helpless child.


On the other hand, if you look at your teenager with an expectation of them being fully capable of accomplishing anything they set their mind to, you will see an amazing young adult. 


Remember this…In the same way that sunlight provides much needed energy and draws a plant up out of the ground,  your expectations provide a guiding light for your teenager to absorb and reach for.


Jim White

Family Enrichment Coach





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