Texas A&M University Senior Receives 2018 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award

From the thousands of graduating seniors who have participated in Miracle Network Dance Marathon at the approximately 300 colleges and universities across the U.S. and Canada, twenty students were selected to receive the 2018 Miracle Network Dance Marathon Distinguished Leadership Award for making an exceptional impact within their Dance Marathon program, on their individual campus and for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital. To see all of this year’s recipients, click here. 

Dance Marathon Involvement: Over the last three years during my involvement with Aggie Miracle at Texas A&M, I have personally fundraised $7,015.26 and have held the following positions: Executive Director (2017-2018), Finance Executive Director (2016-2017), Sponsorship Committee Member (2015-2016).

Campus/Community Involvement:

Senior year involvement:

Member of Aggie Belles, a women’s organization focused in service and leadership; I volunteer at Boys and Girls Club through Aggie Belles

Fish Camp Counselor, fish camp is an extended orientation program for freshmen

Volunteered at Camp Soaring Eagle, a summer camp for patients at McLane Children’s

Work as a medical assistant at a local pediatric office

Awards/Recognition: Dean’s List

Post-Graduation Plans:I am currently job hunting and would like to either work for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, or in the foundation of a Children’s Hospital. I love fundraising (I have since I was a little girl) so I want to continue fundraising for children’s hospitals, or help develop different Dance Marathon programs’ fundraising efforts.

I always wanted to be a doctor, but the more I got involved with Dance Marathon and became more exposed to non-profit work, the more I fell in love with the work being done. About a year ago, I changed my career path to go into non-profits which explains why my major is Biomedical Sciences!

Maci reacting to the Aggie Miracle fundraising total reveal at their 2018 event.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

I was exposed to Dance Marathon through an organization I joined in Fall of my sophomore year called Aggie Belles, who’s philanthropy event was Aggie Dance Marathon. My passion for Dance Marathon evolved quickly after joining as I began to learn about the movement. I loved the cause from the beginning, just because it stood for something incredibly important. But it wasn’t until early the next Spring when I attended my first Miracle Family picnic that everything just clicked. There I met a one of our Miracle Kids, a six-year-old boy named Jonathan. He pretended to stab me with swords and I pretended to collapse on the ground in defeat. He would lock me up in the “dungeon” (aka under the patio) and run off to go slay the backyard dragons. His mom often checked up on us–as I later found out Jonathan was born with a heart condition where he had to always be careful to “not over do it.” We were sitting down in the grass taking a break and playing with some trucks after lunch when I had this weird moment that’s hard to put into words—almost like time just stopped. I looked at him, and I just all of the sudden understood the root of Dance Marathon. When I looked at Jonathan, I saw my own little brother Ian. When Ian was six, he pretended to stab me with fake swords and chased me around the backyard, and heck even still does sometimes now at 13. Ian was born healthy and has lived an abundant childhood, and over the last 13 years has become my world. I love him more than anything else, and if something were ever to happen to him I am not sure how I would function. Ian is my someone, and Johnathon is someone’s someone. Every child in a hospital is someone’s brother or sister, son or daughter, niece or nephew—someone’s someone. I participate in Dance Marathon because it could’ve been my someone, and could still be one day. Every child deserves to have a voice and to have access to the best medical care so they can live an abundant childhood and slay backyard dragons with air swords. I strive to be the support for everyone’s someone in some way–whether that is through fundraising, being at the hospital or playing in the backyard with a Miracle Kids. As a member of the Dance Marathon community, I feel it is my responsibility to help provide joy, hope and support to all of these kids and their families.

Maci with Miracle kid, Jonathan.

What personal accomplishment/contribution are you most proud of from your involvement in Dance Marathon?

If I had to pick one contribution to Dance Marathon that I am most proud of, it would be my ability to lead by example. I always strive to be encouraging and set a positive example. While this might not seem like it has a huge impact on Dance Marathon, I think had I not always strived to be an example in my time as a leader—we wouldn’t have taken the growth jumps we did the last two years. Dance Marathon requires a lot from every person involved, starting with our participants all the way up to my role as Executive Director. If I was not giving my full effort, how could I ask Miracle Makers to raise their $50 minimum, or staff to sign up for another tabling shift? If I was begging people to go canning, you bet your butt I was there. If I was trying to get people to sell Corn Dogs on Northgate (our local bar strip) at 2 a.m., I was most definitely there. If people were struggling with fundraising, I went canning with them or talked to them on the phone for a little while to get to know them to help cater advice to their network. I strove to always practice what I preached, because if I as the leader of the organization was not pulling my weight—how could I expect everyone else to? I think it is one thing for me to be passionate, but for me to be able to illicit passion in others is something I am very proud of.

Maci touring the NICU at McLane Children’s.

How has Dance Marathon impacted you as a student leader? What specific skills have you developed during your involvement?

Being a part of Dance Marathon as a student leader has challenged me and transformed me in so many ways. If I had to name the top two things I took away as a student leader, it would be the ability to cater to different work styles than mine and the importance of collaboration. Each of these impacts enabled me with many skills that I’ll carry into my career and even my personal life. Being a student leader, I quickly learned that everyone does not do things the way I do, and finding ways to cater to different work styles was often challenging. No work style was the right one, but being able to work with others whose needs differed called for a lot of thinking and creativity. Through this, I learned how to adapt myself to different people as well as learn different ways of approaching different situations. It was always my main priority to make sure the leadership team was empowered in their roles and, to do this, I had to really adapt myself to be in their shoes so I could best help them. It wasn’t always easy to just be malleable, and sometimes it was even frustrating, but this also taught me an incredible amount about patience. Another impact Dance Marathon had one me was the realization of the power of collaboration. When you get a ton of different people with different experiences and different ideas together to talk, collaboration becomes a force to be reckoned with. Through phone calls, emails, and group text messages I was able to learn from and share with other Dance Marathon programs from other campuses all year. Collaboration taught me how to communicate and interpret relevant information as there was never a way to share or receive every intricate detail via a message or a short call. I have always been a wordy person, so these kind of interactions helped me learn how to be concise and informative in my communication. While these are a couple of examples of skills I developed, the list could go on because I learned more from being a leader in Aggie Miracle than I have in all other areas of college combined!

Maci with her family at Aggie Miracle’s 2018 Dance Marathon.

Why should students get involved with Miracle Network Dance Marathon on their campus?

Being a part of Dance Marathon is more than just being involved in a student organization. It is being a part of something that has such a direct impact on the lives of so many people. It is being able to serve the community through working towards a better future for a future generation. As a member of Aggie Miracle, I have been given a platform to turn my passion into purpose through the service of kids and families that have truly become an extension of my family. When I go talk to organizations about getting involved, I tell them that being a part of Dance Marathon is truly being a part of a year round celebration. By being a part of the movement, you are celebrating the lives of these kids who are courageous and brave, you are serving your community, you are creating an impact on people’s lives and most importantly you are standing up and being a voice for those who don’t always have one. That is why people should be a part of Dance Marathon on their campus.

Why should people donate to their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals?

There are so many incredible philanthropies today that anyone can donate to, but what I think what makes CMN Hospitals special is how the funds stay local because it gives each hospital the ability to get the things they specifically need. At McLane Children’s, our local CMN Hospital, they are gearing up to build a new Occupational Therapy unit because the one they currently have isn’t big enough and doesn’t have as much equipment as they need. The OT area is used by one of our Miracle Kids, Logan, each week to help him get his muscles stronger, as well as many other kiddos at McLane. Having newer equipment is so important when it comes to providing for these kids, because the equipment is being continually being continually evolved to help create the best life for a patient.

Maci and Aggie Miracle members celebrating Miracle kid Logan’s 10th birthday.

 


Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 400 colleges, universities and K-12 schools across North America that fundraise for their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Since its inception in 1991, Miracle Network Dance Marathon has raised more than $220 million–ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

Learn more about Miracle Network Dance Marathon:

Facebook – Instagram – Website – Blog – YouTube

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.