Dance Marathon with Rutgers Hillel: It’s FOR THE KIDS!

By Greg Yellin ‘09

It was probably around 4 in the morning when I looked around and wondered to myself, “What did I get myself into… again?” We were about 18 hours into Dance Marathon, a 32 hour (now 30) non-stop action-packed fundraiser. Rutgers University Dance Marathon is a student run philanthropic event which raises money and awareness for the Embrace Kids Foundation, which exists to lighten the burden and improve the quality of life for children with cancer, sickle cell and other serious disorders in the New Jersey/New York City metropolitan area. Rutgers University and the Embrace Kids Foundation have been partnering for 12 years now and have raised over $3 million to date.

Back to the original question though, “What did I get myself into, again!?” It was my second year participating in Dance Marathon. I was tired, exhausted, and starting to get a little emotional, but I had to keep going strong. All around the College Avenue Gym there were posters that said FTK! Almost everyone in the gym had shirts on with the letters FTK. A couple of students even shaved FTK into the side or back of their heads. FTK stands for “For the Kids”. It is why we all do Dance Marathon. However, for me, participating in Dance Marathon with a group of Rutgers Hillel students on the Hillel team is more than just FTK. When I was a student, Dance Marathon was almost exclusively made up of Greek organizations, fraternities and sororities raising money to prove who is more “FTK”. As someone who wasn’t involved in Greek life as a student, I didn’t feel that Dance Marathon was for me, but when I came back to Rutgers as a Hillel staff member and heard that the previous year Hillel had its first Dance Marathon team, I thought, “sign me up!”

“I love DM because it brings together so many different people at Rutgers and you meet a lot of students that are really passionate about the cause. DM is a huge event and being a part of the Hillel team makes it an even more meaningful experience because you get the chance to bond with a smaller group.”
Mandy Frantz, Rutgers University Class of 2014, from Cherry Hill, NJ

Over the past three years, Rutgers Hillel has been one of the top non-Greek fundraising organizations, even raising more money than many of the Greek organizations on campus. That is what I think of when I look around and start to get cramps in my legs and pains in my feet. We are Hillel, we are part of the Rutgers community, and we are FTK just like everyone else.

I am very much looking forward to participating in my third Dance Marathon this year on April 5th and 6th 2014 in the Rutgers Athletic Center. If you want to join me as a dancer or volunteer, it isn’t too late to sign up! Just head to and be sure to join the Rutgers Hillel team. Registration closes on February 24th 2014. If you can’t make it that weekend, but still want to support us, you can donate to the Rutgers Hillel team by visiting:


Greg Yellin '09, Arielle Sheris '13, Mandy Frantz '14, Noa Schwartzbach '15, Raffi Mark '13, and Aliza Tammam '13 at Rutgers University Dance Marathon 2013

Greg Yellin ’09, Arielle Sheris ’13, Mandy Frantz ’14, Noa Schwartzbach ’15, Raffi Mark ’13, and Aliza Tammam ’13
at Rutgers University Dance Marathon 2013