My second news story previewed one of IlliniThon’s big, new fundraisers, “Trick or Treat For the Kids.” It also highlighted the involvement of Centennial High School students in supporting Children’s Miracle Network.
As the leaves change and the air gets colder, the thoughts of children turn to costumes and candy. For many kids, the highlight of the month of October is collecting candy on Halloween.
A group of high school and college students have a different idea. On October 31, members of IlliniThon and Centennial High School Dance Marathon’s executive boards will be Trick-or-Treating For the Kids in Champaign. Instead of candy, they will be asking for money to support IlliniThon and the Children’s Miracle Network.
“This is the only time it’s actually legal to solicit people door-to-door for things,” said IlliniThon’s internal fundraising director, Caroline Eichelberger.
Eichelberger and IlliniThon’s external fundraising director, Courtney Wright are planning the event.
Wright explained that one of IlliniThon’s public relations directors came up with the idea and the organization’s president brought the idea to her.
“I took it over from there and it’s really been a lot of fun,” said Wright. “This year being the first year doing it, I really have a lot of leeway as to what I can do.”
Wright explained that they are currently working on designing and logo and deciding how they are going to brand Trick-or-Treat For the Kids to the rest of the community. They are also contacting local television and radio stations to help spread the word. Being a communications major, Wright understands the importance of how messages are sent to the community.
“We want this to become an annual thing that is recognized in the community,” Wright said.
That is part of the reason they are partnering with Centennial High School in Champaign, to reach out to the community.
Centennial High School is unique because they have a Dance Marathon of their own, something that’s not very common in high schools. Their sponsor, Marian Wyatt, explained that one of Centennial’s students, Grace Khachaturian started the event at Centennial five years ago.
“Centennial is one of the first high schools to take up what these colleges are doing. In the last four years we’ve raised $50,518.67,” Wyatt told her classroom of students. “We’ve got money to raise and kids to help.”
Aashika Ashock, one of Centennial’s co-presidents, explained that the money raised by Centennial’s Dance Marathon goes to IlliniThon because they are the larger event.
Jenna DeLuce, the other co-president, explained that Centennial’s Dance Marathon is the Friday before IlliniThon, so the families can just stay for the weekend. She also said that they are beginning to build stronger ties with IlliniThon.
“We’re trying to support each other with the events we’re having and network in that way,” said DeLuce. “We really want to get the community more involved and let them know who we are.”
IlliniThon’s executive board, their committee members and Centennial’s executive board are planning to split up into teams of two on October 31. These teams of two will pair up into groups of four to drive to different areas of the community. Eichelberger and Wright are excited to have the high school students joining them.
“They all live in Champaign, they know the neighborhoods and that’s more people that can go out and reach more houses,” said Eichelberger.
While going door-to-door, the students will be telling the stories of miracle children from the child’s point of view and asking the community members to support the kids.
The IlliniThon fundraising directors are looking forward to sharing the kid’s stories.
“It’s inspiring to see an eight-year-old who’s been through all this stuff in their life and they’re still so energetic and so enthusiastic about everything,” said Wright.
The directors are also excited to see how the first year of Trick-or-Treat For the Kids goes.
“It has potential to be a really, really big fundraiser,” said Eichelberger.
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Read my first IlliniThon News Story.