Student club prepares for Warriorthon


Contributed by Warriors for the Kids

Members of Warriors for the Kids stand at the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference at Ohio State. The Marathon, an annual event starting in 1991, first began at Indiana University in memory of a student who passed away from HIV/AIDS.

Lauren Saner, Copy Editor

Warriors for the Kids begin to raise money for childhood illnesses

Warriors For The Kids, one of Winona State University’s newest clubs, began preparing for their biggest fundraiser of the year this past week.

Warriorthon, a dance marathon, has taken place on campus to raise money for families with children who have childhood illnesses. The first Warriorthon was in spring of 2015, and was held by the Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) club on campus. This will be the second year that Warriors For The Kids will host Warriorthon.

Aurea Osgood is a professor of sociology, as well as the director of the general education program and the advisor for Warriors For The Kids.

Osgood shared what Warriors For The Kids and the Warriorthon are.

“Warriors For The Kids is a student club on campus, and our goal is to raise awareness and raise funding for childhood illness and for children and families in our area who are struggling with childhood illness,” Osgood said. “We partner with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Gundersen [Hospital] in La Crosse … and our big event of the year is Warriorthon, which this year will be an 8-hour dance marathon to raise money and awareness for those Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.”

The club’s goal for this year is to raise $10,000 for Gundersen Hospital throughout the year.  This event and other fundraisers like their “Pie in the Face” event, where students can throw pies at professors’ faces, is how the club plans to reach their goal.

The President of Warriors For The Kids, Julia Jones, a senior special education major, expressed what those in the club do to support these children and families.

Contributed by Warriors for the Kids
From left to right (front row) Professor Aurea Osgood, Julia Jones, Rene Beaird, Maddie DeSmith, Chrysandra Simek, Britty Rose and Rissy Hines (back row) Kalley Inderlee and Molly Noteman.
Members of WSU’s Warriors For The Kids club hold up a sign for the intended fundraising goal at the 2017 WarriorThon in East Hall. Warriors For The Kids helps raise awareness for childhood illnesses and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

“Our club dedicates its time and its livelihood to raise money and awareness for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals … we do a lot of fundraisers, and hold events, have booths every now and then, that spreads the word and lets people know that it’s an awesome cause and the little people need your help,” Jones said.

Jones has been a part of this fundraiser and this cause since her first-year at Winona State when the event was held by the CAST Club.

According to Jones, there are more education majors on the board than any other major, because it was started by the education department and the club works for kids. But she made it clear that this could be a beneficial club to anyone who wanted to join, from a professional and a social standpoint.

“The more the merrier if they want to come be a part of the club or help host [the event] … Everyone, all ages, all majors, all genders [are welcome],” Jones said. “We do a lot of design work, we do marketing, there’s money, there’s the design, there’s everything. I feel like a lot of majors could benefit from it.”

While being a part of Warriors For The Kids can benefit students, the work they do benefits families nearby as well. The money that is raised from Warriorthon and other fundraisers goes to these children and families to help make life with a child who has a childhood illness easier and more affordable.

“All of [the money from the event] stays locally and goes directly to children and their families to help pay for a wide range of things. Everything from meal tickets [at the hospital] … gas vouchers … it also helps pay for things like an iPad for a child who needs an iPad to get through the day,” Osgood said.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals select five children every year, to be apart of ‘Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Heroes,’ to show what the hospitals do for these children.  It acknowledges the work that the children do to keep moving forward, as well as those raising money or working at the hospital do to make a difference to these families that are in need.

“Every year, they select five ‘Hero kids,’ and these are the ambassadors of the year for the hospitals. So these are kids who are currently getting treatment, [or] who have benefited from a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital,” Osgood said. “Sophie [one of 2016’s ‘Hero kids’] has diabetes. So, Children’s Miracle Network helped pay for her insulin pump … and also helped pay for her to go to Camp Needlepoint, which is one of my favorite things ever. It’s a camp for kids with diabetes to help them learn to be independent with their insulin pumps.”

Contributed by Warriors for the Kids
Students dance at the Hula For Our Heroes in East Hall that took place during the WarriorThon last February. Warriorthon, a dance marathon which first started in 2015, has taken place on campus to raise money for families with children who have childhood illnesses.

There are over 300 schools across the United States and Canada that raise money for these programs, to support hospitals and families that are working with childhood illnesses. Warriors For The Kids is a national movement for the kids, and those in the club are able to meet the kids that they are working to help.

After talking about what the club does to provide for these children, Jones shared what her favorite parts of Warriorthon are.

“I like hearing the kids talk [at the event]. It’s fun to hear their stories and what they have gotten to do because of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.There are so many things to do at the event and I really like each little individual thing and then our DJ makes it a lot of fun too,” Jones said. “I don’t want to say it’s a big whole hullabaloo, but it’s a big whole hullabaloo.”

Warriors For The Kids has been nominated for the 2017 Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award because of their work with these children. They will be presented the award by the Upper Mississippi Valley Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals on Nov. 15.

Warriors For The Kids meets every other Thursday in Minné 237 at 6 p.m. The first meeting of the year will be held this Thursday, Sept. 14. Warriorthon will take place on Feb. 24, from 2-10 p.m. Registering before the event online costs $10, otherwise it will be $15 at the door.