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Students, fundraisers need to keep focus on local problems, too

March 18, 2007 seemed just like any other day. Students walked drudgingly to class, the incessant Bowling Green wind swept wildly across campus and teachers’ droning lectures went on as before.

But unaware to some, that day marked something more than just another ordinary day in a University student’s life.

Last Sunday kicked off Dance Week 2007: a week chock full of Dance Marathon fundraisers and spirit including a ‘window splash’ which took place on Monday and a Max and Erma’s night with 20 percent of proceeds going towards the Dance Marathon miracle children.

If all of this is sounding a little confusing to you, maybe it’s time you brushed up on your Dance Marathon history.

Dance Marathon, which takes place in late March every year at the Recreation Center, first took place at the University in 1995 and works in conjunction with the Children’s Miracle Network.

According to the University Dance Marathon Web site, ‘the mission of the BGSU Dance Marathon is to hold a 32-hour fundraising event that benefits the Mercy Children’s Hospital.’

The funds raised from the students participating will provide research, treatment, equipment and education to children from Northwest Ohio who suffer from terminal illnesses, serious disease, birth defects and severe trauma.

Participating students also get the opportunity to meet and play with their ‘miracle family’ – families with children who are patients at children’s hospitals.

The marathon, which raised $160,000 during the 2006 dance, is open to anyone who wants to participate.

And although the hours may seem long, University students are always willing to join in, regardless of the sometimes-extensive commitments that the marathon requires.

Even so, Dance Marathon is a campus activity that must be praised and acknowledged for its contribution to local people in need of a little extra help.

Too often, it seems that local individuals are pushed aside in the rising wave of global catastrophes that have swept our nation over the past several years.

From tsunamis to earthquakes to extensive flooding, it seems that local individuals who need just as much help from their fellow human beings are forgotten in the chaos of natural disasters and high-number catastrophes.

During President Bush’s national address after the flooding of New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina, he said, ‘These days of sorrow and outrage have also been marked by acts of courage and kindness that make all Americans proud…In the community of Chalmette, when two men tried to break into a home, the owner invited them to stay – and took in 15 other people who had no place to go.’

He also said, ‘You need to know that our whole nation cares about you, and in the journey ahead you’re not alone.’

The simple fact of the matter is President Bush told no lies that night.

During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of people who had no connection to New Orleans or the people affected by the flood banded together in order to help others in need.

As heard through one example in Bush’s speech, people reached out to help in any way they could, whether it be by offering shelter from the treacherous terrain or simply sending a dollar across states to people who needed it more than they did.

These momentous acts show the type of country we live in: a country that is willing to band together and help those who suffer catastrophic events.

And although it is absolutely wonderful that people seem to want to help during times of national tragedy, we simply do not see that kind of animated participation to aid those who need just as much help living right around the corner from us.

Fundraisers like Dance Marathon that raise money for the purpose of helping local families are few in numbers, which is something that I find extremely upsetting.

Although I am not saying that one should go out and donate their entire payment for college tuition to the local hospital, there are things one can do to make a difference in local lives.

For example, volunteer once a month at a local hospital or veterinary clinic. Spend an hour a week at a nursing home. Get involved with community wellness programs. Join Dance Marathon!

Even a small contribution, such as an hour a month, can make a huge difference in someone’s life.

Although it may not seem like it, giving your time to a local organization that helps the people in its own community can be just as valuable as donating money to someone who survived a catastrophe halfway around the world.

Send comments to Kristen Vasas at [email protected].

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