The Daily News

Dear Editor:

Huntingdon County’s Creating Hope and Making Progress (CHAMP) is coming upon our fifth annual dance marathon, March 1 at Juniata Valley High School. The captains and advisers are working full speed ahead with plans for the event, but are still looking for sponsors to help meet our fundraising goal.

CHAMP was founded in 2015 as a way to unite the schools in our county in raising funds for a worthy and deserving cause: children with cancer. In 2015, at our first dance marathon, the participants helped raise $20,000 for seven families in need. Since then, we have expanded our eligible beneficiaries to include people of any age in the county with serious medical or financial needs. Thus far, CHAMP has collected almost $150,000 to give back to over 40 families in need. The most amazing part? This was all done by high school students.

Captains from all of Huntingdon County’s high schools: Huntingdon Area, Juniata Valley, Mount Union Area, Southern Huntingdon County, and, most recently, New Day Charter School, come together each year to plan and execute a 12-hour dance marathon. Students in grades 9-12 from each of these schools are invited to attend the dance, and the high schools alternate which school will host it each year. Participation has steadily increased each year, 2018 being the largest with 512 participants, and the grand total for 2019 has the potential to reach 600 dancers!

This year is my third and final time serving as a CHAMP captain, and this event is the single thing I’ll miss more than anything following graduation. In my time planning, organizing and attending CHAMP, I’ve learned that it is so much more than a dance. It’s so much more than a fundraiser. CHAMP is a life-changing organization that has the potential to impact so many lives, and it has only been around for a few short years! CHAMP means putting schools and rivalries aside to work alongside our otherwise competitors and providing for such a great cause. CHAMP means, despite only being in high school, we can help raise tens of thousands of dollars to help heal individuals and families we live alongside and have known our whole lives. CHAMP means family.

But we still need your help. We’ve been working to fund-raise and have been asking our friends, families and neighbors for donations, and have reached out to a couple hundred businesses in the county asking for sponsorships. However, if we want to meet this year’s fundraising goal of $50,000, we still need more friends and businesses to help us out. The nine families we’re sponsoring this year (you can find their names and their stories on the CHAMP Facebook page) need our help, and we have the power to make a huge impact in each of their lives.

Donations can be made online at PlanetLoveJoy.com, and can be mailed to CHAMP JVES ℅ Kelly Johnson at 7775 Juniata Valley Pike, Alexandria, PA 16611, or can be given to a captain or adviser at your local high school. There will also be a fundraiser at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at the Huntingdon Cinema’s Clifton 5. For $5 per person, you can watch Disney’s Lilo and Stitch the movie, and all proceeds from ticket sales will be donated directly to CHAMP. This movie is the inspiration for CHAMP’s 2019 theme, “Ohana Means Family,” directed toward reminding all of our students they’re never alone. Please consider becoming a sponsor for this year, because CHAMP, like Ohana, means family.

Thank You

Liv Wilson

Huntingdon High School CHAMP Captain


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