If you are a recent Penn State alumnus (defined by those who graduated between the years 2012 and 2016) – this message is for YOU!
If you give back to the college or campus of your choice, your donation will be matched with a donation to THON via big time THON supporter, Ned Brokloff.
It’s pretty simple: visit this link, select the Penn State college or campus of your choice, and make your donation. You can even credit a THON organization with your donation! You’ll simply follow instructions via email.
We are so grateful for this opportunity and excited to see how much it grows. For The Glory, For The Kids!
For more information and to donate, click here.
On October 21, the Penn State Alumni Association honored twenty alumni groups and four individuals for their inspiring work. The PSAA Volunteer Awards Dinner is an opportunity to recognize exemplary service by affiliate groups and alumni who have contributed time, leadership, and talent on behalf of the Alumni Association and Penn State. And guess what, Dance Marathon AIG was among the 2016 awardees!
Mel Harris and Ashley Waters gladly accepted the Ned Brokloff Award for Alumni Association Affiliate Group Innovation on behalf of the AIG for our largest project, the DMAIG Mosaic.
THON supporters have been uploading photos for the mosaic-turned-mural, sharing their THON and Penn State memories and creating an online interactive mosaic. The digital mosaic is currently being turned into a permanent fixture to display at the new THON Store in the HUB. The DMAIG Mosaic has raised over $44,000 for THON and includes more than 1,500 photos and stories to showcase the history of THON.
We thank THON, PSAA, and Four Diamonds for their continued support for this project, and we thank and Mr. Ned Brokloff for sponsoring the award.
What’s next for the DMAIG Mosaic? Stay tuned on our social channels for the latest details about our upcoming reveal at the THON Store!
Did THON put you on a career path as a professional in the non-profit world, or are you an active volunteer fundraiser?
Whether you’re growing early in your career, considering a career change, or a lifelong longer who’s also dedicated to fundraising, learn more fundraising and leadership in Penn State’s all online, four-course post-baccalaureate Certificate in Philanthropic Leadership.
To help benefit your nonprofit career or volunteer work, you’ll:
If you have a passion for philanthropy and want to hone your communications skills, increase critical thinking aptitude, and further develop leadership skills, contact program coordinator and lecturer Sophie Penney, PhD at (814) 863-6480 or firstname.lastname@example.org and learn more here.
Last week, Penn State alumnus Mark Stephens finished a 170-mile journey to raise funds and awareness for THON. Walking all the way from Bethesda, MD to State College, PA, this adventure was no small feat! We connected with Mark to ask him about his experience.
DMAIG: Tell us a bit about your Penn State background. When did you graduate, what did you study, etc. What is your previous history with THON and its cause?
MS: My father taught at Penn State for 30 years, so PSU is truly part of my life experience. My wife and I met at Penn State and are true blue members of Nittany Nation. I graduated in ’86 with a degree in Liberal Arts and stayed for a Master’s in Exercise Science (‘89g). In the mid ’80’s, THON was in the White Building—Patty and I would stop in to see our friends but I was never particularly involved with THON at that point in time. Over the years, as THON grew, so did our interest in supporting THON.
DMAIG: Your fundraiser is quite a unique one. What gave you the idea to walk 170 miles For The Kids?
MS: I retired from the Navy this August. I recognized that I would likely need time to transition to a post-military career. Blending a transitional time (literally and figuratively) with supporting THON seemed like a natural fit. The walk was the culmination—I thought it would be a reasonable idea to try and contribute to PSU/THON while concurrently using the walk to reflect on things past and things to come.
DMAIG: What suggestions do you have for other Penn State alumni who want to get involved in THON, either for the first time or as a continuation from their time as a student?
MS: The student THON leaders have been fantastic. They are organized, enthusiastic and supportive. Any interested alumni would be well served to touch base with student leadership to brainstorm and bring ideas to fruition.
DMAIG: What’s next for you after this now that you’ve arrived in State College?
MS: I am thrilled to be taking a job with Penn State Health. The Penn State College of Medicine is involved in multiple innovations in medical education, one of them involving a unique and novel approach to medical school taking place here in State College. I can’t wait to join the team.
Thanks Mark for taking some time to tell us about your experience, and thanks for your commitment to THON and Penn State! Your story is inspiring, and it is THON alumni and supporters like yourself who spread THON’s story far outside central PA.
If you are interested in starting your own THON initiative, or want to know how you can get involved in your area, contact Corbin Reno, Alumni Events Director, at email@example.com.
As you may have heard, The Hope Express released a message late last week, stating that the annual run has come to a close after 10 years. They will not be running The Hope Express in 2017. While it may come as a surprise to the greater THON community, we understand that this event is a huge effort and takes a toll on the organizational leadership year after year.
We sincerely appreciate everything that Hank, Connie and the Angus family have done for THON, DMAIG, and Four Diamonds over the last 10 years. The Hope Express proved to be a great way for alumni to give back to THON, much like many other independent alumni events across the country. Even though this event has come to an end, it is part of DMAIG’s mission to continue to find ways for alumni to feel connected to the cause.
As it becomes available to us, we will release any pertinent information regarding The Hope Express and any other alternative initiatives driven by DMAIG. Further questions about The Hope Express can be directed to Hank and Connie Angus via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To read the full statement from The Hope Express, click here.
This Saturday, tons of Penn Staters and Los Angeles-area residents will take to the dance floor as part of the 5th annual Hollywood Dance Marathon, organized by Lights Camera Cure (LCC). From 1pm to 7pm at the Avalon Theater, dancers and friends will take part in a mini THON event to raise funds and awareness for Four Diamonds and the Mattel Children’s Hosptial at UCLA. Just like THON, dancers have been raising funds all year long to participate in this awesome event.
We spoke with Trevor Kress and Janet Markman, two members of the LCC Board of Directors, about the upcoming event. Kress handles communications and marketing while Markman tackles in-kind donations and dancer relations.
Kress looked back on his favorite memory thus far, as he’s been a part of the event since its inception. “It’s got to be when we broke $100,00 last year, “ he said, “To think this was just an idea in our minds five years ago to now being a six-figure event. We hit a major milestone last year that proved our event as the real deal.”
Markman added her sentiments about this major mark in saying “…it just felt absolutely amazing knowing that we are still going strong and truly are making a difference for the families battling pediatric and young adult cancer.”
In regards to this year’s marathon, there’s a ton to look forward to. Markman is in charge of putting together the robust silent auction (which will include mobile bidding this year so that those not in attendance can participate) which includes things like tickets to see Jimmy Kimmel and Ellen Degeneres to beach packages and sunglasses.
As the event takes place in the heart of Hollywood, local celebrities are welcome to walk the red carpet. In years past, famous faces like Lamorne Morris (famous for his role as Winston on FOX’s New Girl) and Ian Harding (AKA Ezra Fitz from Pretty Little Liars) have joined in on the fun. Oh, and remember Aaron Samuels? (Of course you do.) Jonathan Bennett of Mean Girls fame was one of LCC’s celebrity ambassadors in 2015. And don’t forget our favorite emcee – Devon Werkheiser, then Ned of Ned’s Declassified, now singer-songwriter, as well as son of Penn State alum/LCC Executive Director Gary Werkheiser – will be there to keep up the energy and motivation for dancers and attendees.
Of course our favorite VIPs are the ones who benefit from events like this. Why does Kress stay involved? “It’s for the kids,” he says, “They need a voice. They need our support. They need everything that we can give them to conquer this disease.”
Markman stays involved for a few different reasons. She was heavily involved in THON during her time at Penn State, so much so that she was inspired to continue her education to help the fight – this June, she’ll be finishing up her PhD in cancer research and translational medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
She added, “While at Penn State…I got to see so many families celebrating the end of treatment, but an even more sobering number of families just starting their fight, and even worse, those that lost the battle…When I found out about the Hollywood Dance Marathon started by some Penn State alumni, I just knew I had to be involved.”
There are still tickets available for the 5th annual Hollywood Dance Marathon, and anyone is welcome. The high-energy dance party event starts at 1pm on Saturday, April 2nd and ends at 7pm.
Follow along with the fun on their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. For more information, check out their website by clicking here or send an email to email@example.com.
This weekend, hundreds of Penn Staters will once again gather in the heart of Manhattan to celebrate the New York City Hope Gala, an annual event that raises money for THON and the Four Diamonds.
We got to speak with Jon Florio (’11) and Sara Leary (’14) who are both Communications Directors for the event. Florio focuses on media and supporter communication, while Leary takes on social media and creative design.
While the event is sold out, there are plenty of ways to stay connected. You can register for the silent auction by clicking here – with items like signed memoribilia and tickets to see The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, you don’t want to miss out! Sisters Katie and Sydney Bush (a Four Diamonds family) will be taking over their Instagram throughout the event, and Hope Gala volunteers will be posting from Facebook and Twitterand using the hashtag #NYCHopeGala. The event will be emceed by Penn State alumna Kim Jones, and Devon and Leah Still will be making an appearance to present the first-ever Leah Still Award for Courage to Penn State alumnus and cancer survivor Ryan McGarry. Finally, you can continue to donate to this event by clicking here.
Both Jon and Sara were heavily involved with THON during their time at Penn State. Florio danced for Penn State Schuykill in 2008 and then became the group’s THON chair the next year, and continued on as a member of Atlas during his junior and senior year while also participating as a Special Events committee member and Morale committee member, respectively. Leary started out as a freshman on the Morale committee and then moved on to the Public Relations committee where she volunteered as a Photography committee member, Publication Management captain, and finally as a Photography captain during her senior year. Leary was also involved through the Penn State Lionettes Dance Team, supporting the Ashley Fazekas family throughout her time in school and onward.
This weekend, though, will be a totally new experience for Florio and Leary as this is their first NYC Hope Gala! Florio is looking forward to “taking it all in” since it’s “been a year of hard work, and I look forward to celebrating with everyone and meeting many of our supporters for the first time.” Leary noted that she’s excited for her parents to join in on the fun and can’t wait to celebrate alongside her friends and fellow directors.
When asked why they continued their THON involvement post-graduation, each had plenty to say about the amazing cause.
Leary noted, “Graduating from Penn State, while extremely rewarding, meant losing the place I called home for the last four years. With that, meant losing the opportunity to be involved with THON as a student. While you can definitely get involved in many ways as an alumna, it was not something that I could so easily give up. Getting involved with The Hope Gala was a perfect fit, because it allowed me to help support the mission of THON and Four Diamonds after graduating, while also incorporating my professional interests and skill set. “
Florio said, “As with many Penn State students, THON was a huge part of my time in college. I lived and breathed THON and learned that amazing things can happen when a group of people work together towards a common goal. Once I settled into the ‘real world,’ I knew I wanted to get involved in an activity outside of work. The Hope Gala not only gave me an opportunity to stay involved with THON, it was a natural fit professionally as I work in healthcare communications at a large public relations agency in NYC.”
This event is sure to be a fun one, so make sure you follow along on social media as mentioned above! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations from all those on the Dance Marathon Alumni Interest Group Board of Directors to all those directly involved in making THON 2016 a success!
While tons of Penn Staters will be braving the cold as they come and go throughout the Bryce Jordan Center this weekend, one group of Nittany Lions will be celebrating in warmer weather.
The Florida Suncoast & Tampa Chapters of the Penn State Alumni Association are hosting their first-ever THON weekend event, Penn State Tropical Dinner Dance, benefiting THON.
Michele Reagan, who’s in charge of this weekend’s event, notes that many of these chapters’ members weren’t involved with THON as students. She says, “We would all go and watch the dancers during our individual time at Penn State and root them on when we were in school many years ago.”
Now as the years go by past graduation, their roles have changed. “As Alumni now, we feel like it’s a great way to get involved to support such a great cause.”
The Penn State Tropical Dinner Dance takes place on Saturday, February 20th from 7pm to 11pm at The Eagles Golf Club (16101 Nine Eagles Drive, Odessa, FL). With a $45 per person ticket, attendees will get to check out a buffet dinner with a DJ, dancing, raffle and silent auction including signed memorabilia from Sue Paterno, James Franklin and John Urschel, and even the live feed from THON.
Staying involved with THON after her time at Penn State has meant a lot to Reagan. She says, “THON has become such an tremendous event that it’s not only a campus event for students but Penn State has made it a something that students, alumni and everyone in the State College community can participate in. Penn State owns THON, and we have been able to as a group passionately help fight against pediatric cancer.”
Reagan is excited to join her fellow alumni for this first-time, big event. “We are looking forward to the camaraderie of all the Penn Staters for a single evening coming together to support such a worthy cause.”
Reagan also wanted to thank a few contributors for their support of the Penn State Tropical Dinner Dance: “Thank you to the Eagles Golf Club for hosting the event for us. The three owners of the club are John Russell, Jim King and Bill Fustos and they are all Penn Staters. They have been generous with providing the venue and helping to bring in attendees and donations for the event. We appreciate their contributions!”
For more information about this event, you can visit their website and Facebook page – or send an email to Michele at email@example.com.
When Caitlin Bencel (’07) graduated from Penn State and moved to Chicago, she felt a little lost.
“At the time, it seemed like there weren’t many Penn Staters moving out this way. THON was such an important part of my college career, and very few people in Chicago had ever heard of it; I felt a strong need to reconnect to THON.”
Soon enough, she discovered THON in the Second City.
Bencel, who danced in 2007 (the first year held in the BJC) and was involved through Alpha Delti Pi in addition to heading up committees for Family Relations and Communications, is now the chairperson for THON in the Second City after joining the Penn State Chicago Board of Directors as the Service Chair in 2014.
THON in the Second City takes place this Saturday, February 20th, from 7pm to 11pm at Blackfinn Ameripub (65 W. Kinzie, Chicago). Tickets include passed appetizers, full dinner buffet, and an open bar with domestic beer and house wine. Dress for the event is cocktail attire.
Bencel says that attendees have plenty of great things to do throughout the evening. She says, “Our guests can expect to join other Penn State alumni from all over the Chicagoland area for a memorable evening dedicated to conquering childhood cancer.” Silent auction and raffle prizes include autographed items from the Chicago Blackhawks as well as tickets to see Pearl Jam at Wrigley Field. Further, they’ll be streaming THON’s live broadcast from the BJC, a mere 570 miles away.
Bencel is certainly proud of what the event has become over the years. She says, “I’m really looking forward to continuing the the great momentum we’ve had with building the level of our event. It started on the back patio of a bar, and now we are hosting the event at a location in the heart of Chicago’s nightlife. It’s exciting to see the Chicagoland alumni come together for an amazing cause.”
For more information about THON in the Second City, visit their website, Facebook, and Twitter – or send Caitlin an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.