Alumni Interview: Amanda Howard
When and why did you join Dance Marathon?
I joined Dance Marathon as a dancer my freshman year, which was UNI Dance Marathon’s first year. I joined then because it sounded fun to do on a Saturday in the Spring. However, I became more involved in Dance Marathon because I fell in love with the cause. Dance Marathon is much more than a college club to pass your time with. It is a movement that is crossing the nation. It is a lifestyle. It is For. The. Kids. I stayed involved because I wanted to help kiddos get a fighting chance and to be able to live the life that God intended them to live. No kid deserves to fight for their life, but because they do, I am not going to let them fight alone.
What roles did you have in Dance Marathon over the years?
Year 1: I was a Dancer
Year 2: I was a Morale Captain. (Team 22 whoo!)
Year 3: Executive Director of Operations
Year 4: Executive Director of Operations
Year 5: Executive Co-Director
Year 6: Alumni
What was your most memorable moment from Dance Marathon?
My most memorable moment from UNI Dance Marathon happened on March 4th, 2016 at the big reveal. You may think that it would be seeing how much we raised, however I chose not to watch the number be revealed on stage, instead I chose to watch the faces of the Executive Team, Committee Members, Dancers, and Families. I watched as they all realized that they had created 370,248.05 miracles. All of their hard work had finally paid off as the magic number seven was revealed. Yes, it is still a seven and always will be. I watched as people, who have dedicated all of their time and energy, fell to their knees because they were overwhelmed with emotion. I watched as parents of our miracle kiddos, and kiddos themselves cried because they felt the love for them. Most importantly, I watched as a group of strangers came together to celebrate all of the miracles that UNI Dance Marathon made possible for our kiddos. I will never forget those images for as long as I live.
What advice would you give to current DM participants?
My advice is to get involved as much as you can and let Dance Marathon change you. Get to know miracle kiddos and create relationships that will last a lifetime. These relationships will change you as a person. They will make you a better person. You will gain a whole new perspective on life and learn to appreciate everyday, good or bad. You will see how hard kiddos are fighting for their lives and you will be even more grateful that you don’t have to fight for yours.
What was the best part about being involved with UNI DM?
I have two parts that are the best parts about being involved with Dance Marathon. The first best part is the relationships that I have built with families and kiddos. I may be biased, but I think UNI Dance Marathon has the best Miracle Kiddos and families. Hearing their stories and watching the kiddos grow into the kiddos they are today is a pure blessing. Our kiddos have taught me so much about life and love and I can tell you that I would not be the person that I am today if I had never met them.
The second best part is watching people grow into amazing leaders. With my multiple years being involved, I was able to see people come and go and for those people who stayed, I watch them grow. As I worked with them I witnessed them gain confidence in themselves as a leader. They let the organization change them for the better and they became a leader that was truly For The Kids.
How does DM still affect your life as an alumni?
Dance Marathon affects my life daily. Dance Marathon allowed me to create some amazing relationships with kiddos and they taught me the most important thing in life. They taught me to appreciate every moment of every day because the next moment is never promised. Most of us have had a healthy life. However there are kids who have to fight for every day of theirs. For those kiddos, I get up every day and try to make this a better place, not for me, but for the kids. I am FTK Always.