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12-hour dance marathon benefits Children’s Miracle Network

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Loud pop, rock and hip-hop music could be heard Saturday from outside Case Middle School, as hundreds of teenagers in the gymnasium danced the day away to raise money for the north country’s sick and injured children.

Organized by the 2013 New Visions class, the 12-hour Dancing for Kids Sake dance marathon, held from noon to midnight, benefited the Children’s Miracle Network of Northern New York at Samaritan Medical Center. The goal was to raise $10,000.

“I’m surprised every year the amount of kids that participate and their passion,” said Jocelyn D. Mejias, CMN director.

About 100 people preregistered for the event, but as many as 200 people ages 13 to 19 were expected to attend. Each participant was asked to raise a minimum $30, but most dancers raised more money. Mrs. Mejias said she heard one student raised $500 alone.

The event was to be open to the public from 10 p.m. to midnight for a $15 entrance fee. During that time, a yellow and red glow party was to be held to cap off the night celebrating CMN and its logo colors.

Teenagers from throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties attended the event, including Italia M. Rios and Courtney E. Evans-Eppolito, both 13 and seventh-graders at Thousand Islands Middle School, Clayton.

“We’ve just danced,” Courtney said, as the girls took a break by 1 p.m. “One of my neighbors is a part of New Visions and told us about this.”

Italia said she was most excited about the glow party, and pop music that blared through speakers. Both girls said they weren’t interested in trying on Sumo suits and wrestling each other. Mrs. Mejias said a variety of games and activities was offered to give students a rest from just dancing.

Participants also were given six 10-minute break tickets where they could get a drink or a snack, or sit down for a few minutes. Mrs. Mejias said all food was donated by local businesses.

Prizes will be awarded to youths who raise the most money. The first-place winner will receive a Xbox 360 4GB donated by Infinite Lives, State Street, while the second- and third-place winners will receive a six-month membership and personal training at Jiu Jitsu Nation, Arsenal Street, and a $50 gift certificate to Infinite Lives, respectively. Other prizes were awarded throughout the day.

“These kids don’t do it for the prizes,” Mrs. Mejias said. “They just really want to help out. Every hour on the hour we play a miracle story to remind them of why they’re here. We’re standing up and dancing for those who can’t.”

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