Mini Dance Marathon at Willard Elementary raises $250

Emily Wray

Ella Kanter (left), 10, and Maya Morton, 8, dance at Willard Elementary School’s Dance Marathon.Paulina Lopez/The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern students sock hopped for charity with students of Willard Elementary School on Friday for a mini Dance Marathon to support Project Kindle, the beneficiary of NU’s 2009 Dance Marathon.

Ainsley Burns-Jacobson, a second grader at Willard, and Betsi Burns, Ainsley’s mother and director of Student Development in the Athletic Department, started “Ainsley’s DM” in 2008. The daughter was a beneficiary of Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, DM’s 2008 charity, and served as an ambassador to the dancers last year.

Participants in the “Roaring 20’s”-themed sock hop ranged from elementary school students to NU athletes. The NU Lady Cats performed and McCormick senior Kevin Greene DJed the event. The DM 2009 executive board also volunteered at the event.

“It was great to be a part of it and continue to help Betsi and Ainsley benefit Project Kindle,” said Carley Ribet, a Medill senior and PR co-chair for DM 2009.

The college students helped with tickets and refreshments, but their primary responsibility was to hit the dance floor with the kids.

“It’s the greatest relationship to have the athletes come to Willard,” said Jean Fies, co-president of the school’s PTA. “They love being around these big kids.”

Organizers considered the event a success, Burns said. She estimates that the dance raised a little more than $250 for Project Kindle. Ainsley’s DM also marked the end of a long week of events for Willard’s TV Tune-Out Week.

“We’ve gotten some great parent feedback,” Burns said. “This was the end of the week celebration, and everyone was very happy.”

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