What makes DM at UF different from other schools?

Gainesville, Florida is known for a few important things. For one, it’s home to the University of Florida and over 50,000 thriving students. It’s known for Gator Football, Tim Tebow and Saturdays in the Swamp. It’s known for the incredible care children receive at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, and most importantly, it’s known for being home to the most successful student-run philanthropy in the southeastern United States: Dance Marathon at UF.

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida isn’t just a yearlong philanthropy, it’s a movement that involves 19 Overall Directors, 386 Captains, 174 Emerging Leaders, 150 partners, 6,861 fundraisers and over 43,746 total donations. It has spread campus-wide, intertwining organizations, students, faculty, community members and highlights the very core of the heart of the Gator nation.

For the last 22 years, Dance Marathon at the University of Florida has raised more than 12.4 million dollars for the kids at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital–making it the number two DM program in the whole country (and world). Although Dance Marathon is spread among campuses across the country, at the University of Florida, it’s something special that truly brings us all together.

DM is different at UF than anywhere else because of our close proximity to UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. Students at UF have the unique opportunity to experience and witness first-hand exactly how profoundly DM impacts the lives of the children at the hospital. We are so lucky to have Shands within walking distance from campus, enabling students to spend time volunteering, working and visiting the hospital.

Students are encouraged to go on hospital tours, where they get to visit the different pediatric floors, interact with children who are patients at Shands, talk to doctors and nurses and see the life-saving equipment donated by the Children’s Miracle Network. UF students get to see miracle children and their families at events in Gainesville, spend time with them and get to put names and faces to a cause that so many people are so dedicated to. It’s easy to be motivated to fundraise for a cause you can directly see who is benefitting from, and because of Shands proximity to UF, it gives students the ability to experience the impact they are making. Seeing the different life-saving machines with the little red CMN stickers on them, seeing the clean, bright, cheery entrance and new neonatal unit that were only made possible by donations raised by Dance Marathon are ways to inspire students to keep fundraising and stay involved in Dance Marathon.

Dance Marathon at the University of Florida is unlike anywhere else. It’s a contagious feeling of involvement and giving that students do because they want to, not because they have to. DM at UF is something bigger than each individual student or individual organization or individual team. DM at UF is a movement of people coming together to fight for children who are too sick to fight for themselves. At the end of the 26.2 hours when everyone is exhausted, sore, and drained, they will raise the numbers up with the fundraising total and every individual who contributed to those numbers will have hearts bursting with pride and joy at the incredible miracles made by students who are doing their best to make a difference for the most amazing children.

-Ashleigh B.

2017 DM Resolutions


  1. ‘Get fit & healthy’
    Get your fitness on! Walk to class, run with friends and save some time to exercise daily so that you’re prepared to stand for 26.2 hours! Staying fit and healthy will keep you energized to stand and fight for those who can’t. (Sign up for FT5K to work on this resolution! http://events.dancemarathon.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.event&eventID=1450)
  2. ‘Live life to the fullest’

People feel happiest when they’re spreading happiness to others. Focus on loving those around you and encouraging a positive, uplifting atmosphere. Enjoying life to the fullest means appreciating the small things, recognizing the unique and special UF community that we have and remembering that it is far better to give than to receive.

  1. ‘Spend less, save more’

This popular resolution will help you save money and fundraise for DM! Skip out on that $5 Starbucks order and donate to a friend’s page. Think about unnecessary purchases, and how you can be more resourceful. Every dollar can help make a difference in the lives of our miracle children. Think FTK!

4. ‘Spend more time with family and friends’

Grab dinner with friends at hospitality nights and come up with fun fundraising incentives! Talk with your family and loved ones about your passions, and why DM is important to you. Enjoy time with your friends and family, and spend time getting to know the miracle families – you’ll make forever friendships here.

5. ‘Get organized’

Organize important dates, email templates, letters, fundraising techniques and a Dance Marathon survival kit so that you can make the most of the event that is always much closer than you think! Organization is the key to a stress-free 2017… and one resolution that can help foster an exciting, encouraging, impactful Dance Marathon at the University of Florida!

Happy New Year, and good luck, Gators!

-Casey McLean

How, exactly, can I raise money for DM?

Fundraising for Dance Marathon at UF is one of the most rewarding experiences you can have. Reaching your goal after a long year of raising money is a feeling that you will keep with you forever. But sometimes, it can be hard to think of new and innovative ways to raise money! Here are bunches of fun and different ways you can help raise money FTK:

  1. Starting off on the easier spectrum would be to call family and friends! By explaining what you are doing and where the money is going, they will understand how great this philanthropy is and want to help you raise money. Some key phrases you might want to tell them are:

“All of the money we raise through DM at UF goes straight toward new state-of-the-art medical equipment, enhancements for the children’s stay more comfortable, and funding for research grants and educational programs.”

“Every dollar helps create miracles for the kids.”

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you haven’t spoken to in a while! Old teachers and friends are a great resource for donations.

2. Another great way to earn money quickly is through Venmo requests! Choose any small amount ($2.62 is great because symbolizes the hours of DM) and simply send Venmo requests to your friends. People are more likely to donate if they see a small number, but if you send it to a lot of people, the numbers add up!

3. Have a special hobby? Use that to your advantage! Whether it is holding a bake sale (who doesn’t love cookies or cake pops?) or making dream catchers, sell what you make For The Kids! Post about what you are selling on social media to make sure the word gets out and you can reach a wider audience.

4. My favorite idea for raising money is to have an incentive. Pick something funny to do such as wear a onesie to class all day, post old embarrassing pictures of yourself, or if you’re adventurous, dye your hair if you reach your goal within a time frame. Make a social media post announcing to your friends and family that if you reach your goal, you will have to carry out the incentive!

Having trouble thinking of more ideas? Sit and brainstorm with a few friends to come up with new ways! There are no limits on the way you can fundraise for Dance Marathon.

-Paris Olkes

Forever For The Kids

Susannah Schrimscher Collins’ journey with Dance Marathon began her freshman year, selling cookies in Turlington Plaza on campus to raise money for her Dancer spot. One could say that her journey truly began eight years prior, as she witnessed her sister participate in Dance Marathon while she attended the University of Florida. While Suzy was in middle school, she watched her sister’s college experience be transformed by Dance Marathon. From then on, Suzy envisioned becoming a part of the organization herself.

Suzy served Dance Marathon as a Dancer for 2 years, a Dancer Relations Captain for 1 year, and the Dancer Relations Overall Director for 1 year. When reflecting on her years in college, Suzy confides that Dance Marathon brought her some of her most cherished friendships & memories. As it does for many others, DM instilled within her time in college a unique purpose for which she is forever grateful.

When on her first tour of UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, Suzy’s passion for DM blossomed as she was able to see firsthand the direct impact Dance Marathon had on the lives of the children and families it served. For her, Dance Marathon encompassed and reflected her own passions and values and she could not pass up the opportunity to be a part of it.

“Dance Marathon taught me that change takes action, and that action begins with us. Dance Marathon taught me that unity comes when we connect over something greater than ourselves and to accomplish something great, we have to work together. Dance Marathon taught me that we can each use our unique gifts to bless someone else instead of simply using them for ourselves.”

Suzy’s favorite memories are mostly comprised of the moments she was able to spend with one of the Miracle families and her Dancer Relations team. All of the laughs and tears shared with her team are testaments to the value of each and every hour she devoted to Dance Marathon.

“If I could tell any UF student one thing, it would be to dive into Dance Marathon and give it all you can. It will make your time at UF one of the most meaningful experiences of your life.”

Graduates like Suzy continue to give back by joining Dance Marathon at UF Alumni. Click here to learn more and join today.

Transform Today 2016

How Has Dance Marathon at the University of Florida Transformed You?



“Dance Marathon has helped me realize the utmost importance of helping others in our lifetime. This year being an Overall has given me the opportunity to make miracles happen For The Kids at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital every day. I used to volunteer in the hospital, and I used to think of it as a weekly thing, but because of Dance Marathon, I become not just support, but also an advocate for these children and their families.” – Joey Whelihan, Recruitment Overall



Assistant Director

“DM has given me a new outlook on life where I appreciate things I otherwise may have taken for granted. It has taught me that when a group of people come together for an important cause, anything is possible. Most importantly it has shown me that miracles are possible and I am so lucky that DM has given me the opportunity to help make them happen.” -Madison Eouse Assistant Director of Special Tasks for Morale




“I live each day with the same quote in the back of my head, “One day we will dance in celebration, until then, we will dance for a cure.” Since becoming a part of Dance Marathon, I wake up each day with a new perspective on life knowing that I am making a difference by being a part of such an amazing cause. It is not how much you do, but how much love you give with what you do. To have the ability to even effect one family’s life through this philanthropic event makes my life more fulfilled. Dance Marathon has taught me to not be selfish, but to walk around with open arms and hands helping everyone I come in contact with. The miracle children have given me a renewed reason to live and motivate me to always have a smile on my face. Overall, Dance Marathon has transformed me into a more selfless, devoted individual, and I hope it continues to impact the lives of individuals worldwide.” – Alyssa DiMauro, Fundraising Captain http://events.dancemarathon.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=191570

“Dance Marathon was the first event that I participated in once I got to UF. Being a delegate helped me become a better leader and helped me become more passionate about philanthropy. Meeting kids like Owen makes me feel great that our work makes a difference in the kids’ lives.” – Steven Paek, Delegate


“Not getting involved with DM last year was one of my biggest regrets because all I ever heard was how incredible it was. This year I was so excited to becoming a part of the Emerging Leaders Program and already it has surpassed my greatest expectations. These children are absolutely incredible, and really do look up to us in every way possible. Some don’t even know we’re saving their lives, but they’re just happy to have someone to play with. Dance Marathon has already impacted me so much and I am so lucky to go to a school that takes it so seriously and has such a great passion for Children’s Miracle Network.” – Garett Scott, ELP



“DM means getting a chance to make a difference. As a dancer last year, I was able to meet a miracle child who changed my whole outlook on life. As she passed a ball back and forth, she stopped and looked at me for a moment and then hugged me and said thank you. In that moment I knew that this was something I wanted to be a part of for the rest of my life. DM has made me so appreciative of everything life has given me and makes me want to strive to be the best person I can be.” – Emily DiNardi, Dancer
In the next 26.2 hours, we are trying to raise $262,000 For The Kids at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital! If you’d like to contribute to our incredible cause, visit Floridadm.org.


Welcome to the official Dance Marathon at UF blog! We are so excited that you are interested in what DM at UF is up to, and we are hopeful that you are equally as excited to become involved!

For those who don’t know, Dance Marathon at the University of Florida is an annual 26.2-hour event benefiting the childhood patients at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, Florida. Each year, more than 800 students stay awake and on their feet to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network hospitals and we can’t wait to make this the best year yet!

On this blog, you can follow our organization in all of the ways that our participating students are changing the lives of the most deserving children and their families. Be prepared for some behind-the-scenes action, closer looks into the lives of our participants and Miracle Children, and fun articles to keep you up-to-date and in-the-know!

Now that you know what DM is all about it, now is your chance to get involved! You can be involved in a variety of ways, including becoming a Dancer, Captain, Delegate or Emerging Leader. If you are not a student, you can register to fundraise, or simply donate to this remarkable cause. Visit the ‘Get Involved’ tab at the top of this page to find the simple steps of becoming a part of the Dance Marathon movement.

We’re glad that you’re here, and we’re looking forward to growing alongside the University of Florida and it’s inspiring students. Visit our blog regularly, and you’ll never miss out on the fun and miracles that are made within this organization!

As always, For The Kids