2014-02-28 / Front Page

Dance marathon has events all day, all night

By Sean P. Milligan
Contributing Writer


STRIVE staffers Heather Guglielmo, Jennifer Castiglione and Peter Brown pose with promotional materials at their display at the Maine Mall. The STRIVE Dance Marathon will take place at that same spot on March 1 through the morning of March 2. (Sean P. Milligan photo) STRIVE staffers Heather Guglielmo, Jennifer Castiglione and Peter Brown pose with promotional materials at their display at the Maine Mall. The STRIVE Dance Marathon will take place at that same spot on March 1 through the morning of March 2. (Sean P. Milligan photo) SOUTH PORTLAND – STRIVE of Greater Portland, a local nonprofit that helps children and young adults from 11 to 25 with disabilities, will hold its 10th annual dance marathon. The fundraising event will be open to the public at the Maine Mall March 1 and 2; the event will start at 10 a.m. Saturday and will run through the night until 9 a.m. Sunday.

After the first eight dance marathons were held at the University of Southern Maine’s Sullivan Gym, this will be the second year the event will be held at the Maine Mall’s center court. Originally an all-night dance party, daytime events have been added so younger children and families who don’t want to see the sunrise can get involved. Activities will be available for a la carte pricing from 10 a.m. until the mall closes at 9 p.m.

Following the all-day activities, dancing will commence at 9 p.m., but people not willing to bust a move will still have entertainment to enjoy. In addition to bands and DJs, a psychic, masseuses, face painting and video games will all be available through the night.

“It gets a little a bit bigger and better every year,” said STRIVE and STRIVE U Program Director Peter Brown.

Brown and others at STRIVE have been going to area schools to get Key Clubs involved with fundraising and planning for the event.

“Throughout the year we work on different projects, but we try to come together for some projects, too,” said Bethany Swanson, a Westbrook senior and lieutenant governor of Key Club’s New England Division 6. “Most of the clubs are working on STRIVE and most, if not all, are going to do the STRIVE marathon.”

Key Club, a service-based organization affiliated with the international Kiwanis Club, gives students opportunities to contribute to their communities. District 6 includes Portland, Deering, Westbrook, MacAuley and Cheverus High Schools in Portland, Brunswick, Gorham, Scarborough, and Windham high schools.

With hourly themes planned throughout the night, awards will be given throughout the marathon to encourage attendees to remain spirited even into the morning.

“It’s pretty amazing how many finish it and how many people are still energetic and pumped,” Brown said. “I think people are exhausted, but in a good way after a really fun night with their friends and knowing they’ve given back to the community.”

Despite the night’s positive vibes and constructive contributions students will have their eye on the prize. According to Swanson, the school with the most enthusiastic attendees will be awarded.

“I’m pretty excited to see which one of the schools will come away with the trophy,” Swanson said.

STRIVE is a nonprofit that helps tweens, teens and young adults with developmental issues transition into emotionally and economically independent adults. STRIVE holds weekly Friday night socials for its members. The dance marathon, although modeled after these social events, is open to STRIVE members and the public alike. All proceeds from the event will benefit STRIVE of Greater Portland, which is located on Foden Road in South Portland.

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