Mara Huebner – Cedar Rapids Dance Marathon
Mara Huebner,Cedar Rapids Dance Marathon (CRDM) Recruitment and Morale Director
Class of 2016
Psychology and Neuroscience Majors
Why did you decide to join CRDM?
“One of my AOPi sisters was on the executive board, and pulled me onto the board. She took me to the University of Iowa dance marathon to tour it, and that just really was an awesome event – just the energy at the event and raising money for people who ar e going through a rough time, I think anybody can get behind that.”
What is your role with Cedar Rapids Dance Marathon?
“I’m on the Executive Board. I serve as Recruitment and Morale Director. This is my third year on the board. I served as Sponsorship Director the previous two years.”
Why did you decide to take on your role in CRDM?
“I actually got on the executive board half-way through my freshman year. I was co-sponsorship director with Heather Job. I continued on that position my sophomore year just to keep some consistency and build it up a bit more. And then I decided to switch over, because I think I’m better suited for recruitment and morale. I enjoy it more.
It’s a lot more working with people. Talking to people about what we’re doing and getting them first involved and motivated to stay involved and come to the event. It’s a lot more working with people rather than working alone. With sponsorship, I would work in my room alone a lot – print out the letters, sign them all, send them all out, get half of them back, because the address is wrong or something, and then just make those phone calls.”
What is one of the greatest challenges on CRDM?
“Over-all, getting people motivated and enthralled in the event at all three campuses is really difficult. Especially since I oversee all three campuses, one thing that works on Coe’s campus might not work on Kirkwood’s campus. Like, here we’re allowed to have the Ackerman twins come and sell Girl Scout cookies, but that’s not allowed at the other two campuses. So, just weaving between those different policies and what sort of works at each of the campuses is sort of difficult.
It’s kind of a different thing each year. Different people come into the positions with different ideas. It’s hard to keep the consistency, since it is a college-run organization. Since it’s different at all three campuses, it’s harder to keep those records. At Kirkwood, the turnover rate is a lot higher for positions, since a lot of people only stay for two years. So, a lot of the time, we only have people in leadership there for one year.”
What is your favorite part of CRDM?
“I really just love the event. It’s amazing to see so many people coming together after fundraising. This year the minimum fundraising amount is $35. So, everyone who is at the event has amazing experience to have it all come together at the end. Then, we have power hour at the end of the event – where we turn all the lights off, turn the music up even louder, and just basically, legitimately dance for the next hour. The rest of the event is a lot of activities – not a lot of people just dance for 12 hours. It’s just staying on your feet for twelve hours.
So, it’s so fun, because you’ve just spent 10 hours with these people, so then we just do a mosh pit of dancing for an hour, and after that, we reveal how much we fundraised overall. So, that’s my favorite part of the event. Everyone takes turn going on the stage and dancing, and the kiddos are there with us if they’re awake, so it’s really fun.”
Why do you think students should get involved in CRDM?
“It’s a really great way to meet a required number of volunteer hours – you have twelve hours in one day. It’s a really fulfilling thing to be a part of. It’s not that hard to spend some time fundraising, honestly. It’s really easy to message somebody on Facebook and ask them to donate some money. It just fills in those gaps that makes their time in the hospital more bearable. It makes it less of a financial burden for the parents – trying to balance a job, other kids, and a kid in the hospital.
I think anything we can do to make their lives just a little bit easier is something we should be doing. I feel lucky because I’ve never had family members be in the hospital for an extended period of time. So, I just like giving to this organization knowing there are some people out there who aren’t as lucky as I am.
Usually, we try to have about one family speak every hour at the event, and they just kind of tell their story about how they came to be involved in Dance Marathon, and why they ended up having a child in the hospital. It’s a very emotional event listening to their stories and how they ended up receiving help from the Children’s Miracle Network and the Children’s Miracle Hospitals. So, it’s pretty emotional. It’s really cool for the dancers to meet the people that they’ve been fundraising for all year. And each morale group has a family that they’re assigned to.”