Georgia College Senior Receives 2017 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 2017 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: During the four year’s I was involved in Georgia Miracle, I personally fundraised over $5,500 and held the following leadership positions:

Freshman Year: Participant
Sophomore Year: Director of Alumni Relations
Junior Year: Director of External Affairs
Senior Year: Executive Director

Campus/Community Involvement:

Omicron Delta Kappa: Member
Georgia Education Mentorship Program: Member
Senior Ambassadors program: Member
Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity: Member; Philanthropy Chair

Awards/Recognition:

Top Male Volunteer at Georgia College (2016, 2017)
Top Greek Life Volunteer (2016, 2017)
Kenneth Morris Believe and Achieve Award (2015)
Starfish Award (2017)
Most Promising Leader at Georgia College (2016)

Post-Graduation Plans: I am in the process of interviewing with numerous companies that include jobs in fields like communication, non-profit, and management.

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

I think the biggest personal accomplishment I’m proud of, is the increase in Executive Board fundraising. As a Junior, our Executive Board had 22 members who fundraised a total of $15,798. When I became Executive Director, one of my biggest goals was to increase that fundraising total by evoking more passion, inspiration, and authenticity. I knew that in order to turn this into a Movement, it was going to have to start from up top. The Executive Board was going to have to be exemplifying passion and inspiration and that started with fundraising. We created “Executive Board Challenges” where members would challenge each other to see who could raise the most in 24 hours. We created more ways for our members to fundraise, easier ways to fundraise, and more efficient ways of not just asking for money, but asking for people to create miracles. Through this new way of inspiring the Executive Board to push themselves past their limits, we were able to get 26 individuals to raise a total of $46,288. I was so incredibly proud of that feat because I know that fundraising is fueled by passion and love for this Movement. It also stems from knowing why you stand and why you fight for this cause. I was proud of this because I made it a mission of mine to create a better and more defined sense of passion and being bold at each meeting. 

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

Dance Marathon has impacted me in a variety of ways, but most importantly it has reminded me to love others and love myself. I spent so much of my life being insecure of who I am as not only a leader, but as a person as well. Being a part of this Movement, something bigger than myself, reminded me that I do have potential. I do have heart. I do have the ability to inspire others. Having the chance to impact our incredible Miracle Kids each and every day showed me the impact I can have on others. It reminded me to love unconditionally and to always show others passion and support. In terms of tangible skills, it taught me how to communicate and understand the individuals you work with. Before I joined the Miracle Movement, I had trouble communicating/motivating others to do incredible things. Being a part of this Movement allowed me to understand how important communication is. Whether that is with the Children’s Hospital, the Miracle Families, or the members in your Miracle organization.

Why do you, personally, participate in Dance Marathon?

I joined Dance Marathon initially because of the idea of being a part of something bigger than myself. I loved the cause and the impact it was making on so many Miracle Kids in the area. But I have never personally been in a Children’s Hospital nor did I know anyone who had been in a Children’s Hospital. The reason why I continue to fight so hard and give so much to this Movement, is ultimately for a woman named Rusty Ruble. Rusty is no ordinary woman. Rusty was inspirational beyond words. Rusty had a heart of gold and a mind of her own. Rusty taught me how making others laugh and smile is the most important thing in this world. But most importantly, Rusty was my best friend, my mentor, my heart, and ultimately my grandma. I did not value our time together though. I was selfish and immature. After she passed away, I wanted to prove to myself and to her that I could be passionate about others. Dance Marathon allowed me a way to impact others, and make them smile and laugh. I knew exactly how it felt to not have enough time with someone you love, and so I wanted to do everything I could to allow these Miracle Kids and their families, that time to spend together. 

Zawoysky with his mother (left) and grandmother, Rusty (right).

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

The bigger question is why shouldn’t students get involved? Why wouldn’t you want to spend your time in College being a part of something so much bigger than yourself? Why wouldn’t you want to join not just an organization, but a family? Why wouldn’t you want to raise money and awareness every single day for 365 days? Why wouldn’t you want to be able to impact not just the lives of dozens and dozens of Miracle Kids, but also your own life? Why wouldn’t you want to grow both intangible and tangible skills? Why wouldn’t you want to become the best version of yourself? Why wouldn’t you want to obtain the most meaningful and supportive friendships you’ll ever have? Why wouldn’t you want to be………For The Kids?

Zawoysky and GC Miracle students “canning” for donations.

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

Because when you donate, you’re donating more than just money, you’re donating a better future. You’re giving more than just dollars, you’re giving miracles. For us at Georgia College Miracle, the money being donated was going towards building a brand-new Children’s Hospital. This was significant because it allowed people to think of the idea that the money they’re donating could one day help their own child. That idea, that concept, is what this Movement is about. That donation ultimately helps provide support and stability for the next generation. Dance Marathon is all about impacting and inspiring the next generation.

 


Miracle Network Dance Marathon is an international movement, involving over 300 colleges and universities 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 $180 million–ensuring that no child or family fights pediatric illness or injury alone.

Learn more about Miracle Network Dance Marathon:

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