Stay humble, be thankful and have fun!

June 1, 2016
Topics: Dance Marathons

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Nikki Blair

I got involved with Jagathon because I have always had a passion for helping children. My grade school always did fundraisers for Riley Hospital and I enjoyed participating in them. When I heard about dance marathon and the difference it has made for many children, I wanted everyone to know about it, so I started my high school's first dance marathon that year. When I came to IUPUI, I specifically asked if dance marathon took place here so that I could continue to be involved.

I decided to start an alumni group for Jagathon for two reasons:

1. Jagathon is growing so quickly and many of our DM alumni are those who have seen its growth in the past four years. They are the ones who made it take off. They are the ones who went canning in all types of weather to meet their fundraising goals. Jagathon made an impact on them while they were students at IUPUI. I want them to know that they don't have to stop attending and supporting Jagathon once they graduate from IUPUI. I want them to stay involved and keep in touch with our Riley families.

2. Jagathon gave me opportunities that I did not know even existed for students at IUPUI. The experiences I had as an undergrad were amazing, and I want others to experience that as well. I want the community to know what these 18, 19, and 20 year olds are doing at IUPUI.

My goals right now for the Jagathon alumni group are simple: outreach and experience. I spent a great deal of time last fall creating a database for our alumni since Jagathon started in 2003. This database allowed me to connect with several Jagathon alumni who are excited to get involved again. I plan to use this database to continue communicating and connecting with alumni who are interested in supporting the kids at Riley Hospital through Jagathon. My second goal is to make the alumni experience worthwhile. I want this to be a time where they can reminisce on their Jagathon memories, meet new people, connect with old friends, and continue to make a difference for the children, even in their busy lives.

I think it is important to stay connected to Riley Dance Marathon programs after graduation because it is a constant reminder to stay humble, be thankful, and have fun. Life can throw a curve ball any second, and our Riley kids are proof that staying positive makes a huge difference in the outcome. As adults, we need a little reminder every once in a while. Dance Marathon is that reminder.

Nikki Blair

Nikki Blair is a May 2016 graduate of the IU School of Nursing at IUPUI. Although she is from a small town in northeast Indiana, she plans to stay in Indianapolis to work as an RN. In the future, Nikki would love to travel to countries all over the world to deliver quality healthcare to underserved communities. In her free time, Nikki enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and volunteering in the community.

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