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Preschoolers dance, walk way toward charity goal

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP — If the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance” is on the air 15 years from now, there is a very good chance one of the acts might be an alumnus of the Rock Hill Child Developmental Center.

In step to the sounds of the “Macarena” and “Electric Slide,” nearly 125 preschoolers took the floor in a school-wide dance party Friday in celebration of hitting their lofty March for Babies fundraising goal last week.

In its inaugural year, the March for Babies drive allowed preschoolers to raise money for the national charity that serves to research premature births and infant mortality.

The challenge, which ran for the month of April, tested students to raise $1,300 — $100 per classroom — in 30 days. Even the infant and toddler rooms took part in the drive.

Each student who made a donation towards the cause received a “goodie” bag and if each classroom hit their $100 goal, the class got to take part in the dance celebration and pizza party sponsored by Giovanni’s Pizza of Coal Grove.

Every classroom hit their goal.

Plus the two students who raised the most money received a special prize — a new bike. Those winners were Dawson Lewis and Blake Porter.

Johnna Lunsford, director of the Child Development Center, said the event was a huge success and would “definitely do it again.”

“I think it is very important when children are small to stress the importance of events like this and teaches them to give back,” Lunsford said.

On April 24, faculty and student partook in their own March for Babies walk around the Rock Hill campus.

Lunsford said participating in the walk and the fundraising challenge serves another benefit in meeting some of the state standards students experience by understanding the meaning behind the event.

Kim Black, who serves as a team captain for the March for Babies drive, said she couldn’t be prouder of the school and the monies raised.

“The school did a very, very, very good job,” an elated Black said while students enjoyed the victory pizza and soft drinks in the gymnasium following the dance.

Formerly named WalkAmerica, the event began in 1970 as the first charitable walking event in the United States and was sponsored by March of Dimes. The name was changed to March for Babies in 2007.

Held in more than 1,000 communities across the nation, March for Babies includes nearly seven million people and 20,000 family teams annually. The event has raised more than $1.7 billion since its inception.

Proceeds raised from the walks help fund research to prevent premature births, birth defects and infant mortality.

Every year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely and more than 120,000 are born with serious birth defects in the United States.

Seventy-six cents of every dollar raised in March for Babies is spent on research and prevention.