Without a doubt the most important part of Dance Marathon is the kiddos and their families. Every thing that DM members work for is for these families. In order for these families to feel more connected to the organization through out the year, they are paired up with a family representative. This week we had the opportunity to hear from Conor McAreavy, the Family Representative Committee Chair of Dance Marathon 21, to learn a little more about the committee and the amazing family representatives that represent the DM families.
What is the family rep committee and what do they do?
“The family representative committee is part of the Family Relations cabinet and is comprised of 14 family rep leaders. We are collectively in charge of the family representative program.
The family representative program pairs individuals from student organizations with Dance Marathon families. Family representatives or reps play and integral role in the emotional support that DM provides, and often long-lasting relationships are built through the program.
Family Rep Leaders guide their assigned group of reps through their year. They email them ideas regularly, inform them of important dates and address any issues that might occur. As a committee, family rep leaders also organize pillowcase decorating parties, periodic family rep meetings and family meet-ups at the Big Event.”
What does a family rep do?
“Family reps act as liaisons for DM. There are 3 main connections that family reps facilitate throughout the year. These are the relationship between DM and their student org., DM and their family, and the family and them.
Reps contact their family regularly through email, visits or snail mail. Student reps can also attend certain family events where they can meet their family. They are then to relay information back to their student org about the family. At the Big Event, Family representatives and their entire student organization are invited to listen to their Rep family share their story in a private meet up. Students also decorate a commemorative pillowcase for their kiddo that will hang at the Big Event.”
How can someone become a family rep?
“To become a family rep, you need to attend the Family Rep interest meetings in the spring and fill out the interest form. You also need to be a registered Dancer, and raise a minimum of $400 to attend the Big Event. As always, everything is For The Kids, so reps are expected to show support to their family all year expecting nothing in return.”
What makes being a family rep so important?
“The family representative program provides an extended amount of students the opportunity to develop one-on-one relationships with families. It also gives us the unique chance to connect DM families with an individual person within our large organization. Finally, this program is great because it provides support to the entire family. Parents, siblings and kiddos alike are comforted and recognized by their family representative’s communication and given the chance to get involved. This program creates irreplaceable life-long relationships, and the University of Iowa Dance Marathon is fortunate to be able to sustain such a large family representative program.”
Written By: Cyndi Robison