Dancing for a Cause

a girl smiling with trees in the background and the words "student story meredith prescott" underneath the girl

Across the United States, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN) work hard to raise money for children’s hospitals that provide life-saving services and care to families who, otherwise, could not afford treatment. CMN supports 10 million children across 170 hospitals, each one improving children’s lives and supporting family members through the caregiving process. This initiative requires substantial support; so, in 1991 CMN founded the Dance Marathon program. Through Dance Marathon, colleges and campus communities raise money for CMN hospitals through somewhat unconventional and creative fundraising efforts. The Division of Student Life at the Capstone is proud to be part of this movement through UA Dance Marathon (UADM), an organized group of student leaders and volunteers who are supported by the Center for Service and Leadership (CSL).

UADM organizes a literal 13-hour dance marathon called BAMAthon every spring to celebrate the year of hard work. All students on the team and guests from CMN hospitals come together for the event. At the end of the night, UADM members, Miracle Kids and the UA community gather in an emotional reveal of the amount raised for Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham, the partner CMN hospital for UADM. Since UADM began 12 years ago, it’s raised over $2 million in to help children and their families seeking care at Children’s of Alabama. This year’s UADM team leader is Meredith Prescott.

two girls posing in front of a poster

Meredith first joined UADM her freshman year, as a member of the first-year outreach team. Her appreciation for UADM grew during this time, and she’s been making unforgettable memories ever since. She appreciates the way UADM provides an inclusive path to service for UA students, saying, “There is a different place for everyone in Dance Marathon. You can find your place and do it well and with passion.”

Meredith’s place as team leader has allowed her to gain valuable leadership experience. It’s Meredith’s job to check in with her executive team to ensure the operation is flowing smoothly in each area. That’s why she meets with them weekly, alongside her weekly meetings with the CSL, to make sure the fundraising and programming efforts for BAMAthon are hitting their targets. At the end of last year’s ceremony, UADM revealed that it raised over $250 thousand for Children’s of Alabama. Meredith encourages other students to join UADM to keep this momentum going.

Meredith has also been able to connect with and lead local high school Dance Marathon teams as UADM increases its presence and impact through empowering and organizing local community efforts.

Her passion for UADM brings a personal connection of hers full circle, as Meredith was treated at a CMN hospital as a child. UADM offered her an opportunity to give back in a special way that connected her to a wonderful community of like-minded UA students and Tuscaloosa residents.

            “I wanted to do everything I can for [CMN]. . . I really wanted to make a difference. I’m getting to do something awesome with other awesome people,” she said.

This year’s Dance Marathon event takes place on Feb. 18, and starts at 9 a.m. If you want to be a part of UADM at UA and #DoMore, visit uadm.org to register as a Miracle Maker for BAMAthon, make a donation or learn more about CMN and UADM. If you have questions about UADM or BAMAthon, contact uadm@sa.ua.edu.

a group of dance marathon students pose for a group picture in front of children's of alabama hospital