Meyer School kids dance to aid others in Skokie
Meyer School familes watch Maine East Demon Squad dancers work a routine Friday at the school's third annual mini dance marathon benefitting Children's Memorial Hospital. | Jon Langham~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: April 1, 2013 6:30AM
They hit the dance floor with their parents, their brothers and sisters, their friends and even their teachers, many of them hoofing away for a few hours.
Meyer School’s third annual “mini dance marathon,” which seems to have gained the momentum of a tango dance itself, raises money for Children’s Memorial Hospital. The event meshes perfectly with a key mission of the school, which is to teach children at the youngest age about caring and compassion.
These are preschoolers and kindergartners, but they are made to understand the reason for the event by their educators and by their families. In fact, the Meyer School families — both alumni and current ones — have come out in increasing numbers every year, lacing up their dance shoes for a fun and important night.
Principal Alison Gordon says the annual mini dance marathon at Meyer has now developed into a “don’t miss it event.”
“We are proud to help care and show kindness toward others,” she said. “That’s the real purpose of this event.”
The Meyer version of a dance marathon is held every year only days before Children’s Memorial Hospital benefits from the real thing.
“Chicago Dance Marathon is much more than a dancing event,” the hospital states. “It is a fun-filled and inspiring day that will change your life. Dance alongside other participants and get inspired as our patient families share their stories and cheer you on. It is an experience you’ll never forget. Best of all, your participation is raising much-needed funds to benefit the kids at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.”
When Gordon first became principal, she introduced a “Kids Who Care” program.
“It’s extremely important to teach kids to be kind and helpful to others at an early age,” Gordon said. “This is why we began the program more than anything else.”
The mini dance marathon was the brainchild three years ago of kindergarten and pre-kindergarten teacher Paula Minnick. Minnick, whose cousin was a cancer survivor, participated in the first dance marathon at Children’s Memorial Hospital and thought a mini-version would make a grand addition to the school’s Kids Who Care program.
The first event at Meyer brought about 200 people and raised $2,700 for the hospital. This year’s mini dance marathon, organized by preschool teacher Paula Carter, brought 300 participants to the school and raised $4,700.
“Pretty great for a school for preschoolers and kindergartners,” said an enthused Gordon.
The Chicago Dance Marathon, patterned after similar collegiate events, is likely to last about 13 hours – not the three or so hours that Meyer stages every year.
But for many of these young kids, it’s a start — a start to giving back, to showing compassion and care for those less fortunate, to learning about the importance of fund-raising for a very good cause.
In no time at all, they’ll be ready and prepared to join the big dance.