Jan. 31, 2013
Maria Saint, OVN correspondent
“When there is a cure we’ll dance for joy. Until then we will dance for life.” That’s the tagline for the UCLA Dance Marathon, an event in which participants dance — for 26 hours straight — to raise money for the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA.
The 2013 event, slated to begin Feb. 16, will be the second year in which Nordhoff High School graduate Barbara Horne-Petersdorf, 19, will take part. Currently studying at UCLA, Horne-Petersdorf is on a committee with her sorority, Alpha Phi, this year.
“The Dance Marathon is on the top 10 things to do at UCLA before you graduate,” Horne-Petersdorf said. “I danced last year, and once I did that, I really got into it. This year I joined the committee for it. I’m on the Greek Relations Committee, so I work with Greek life at UCLA to get as many dancers as possible and to get as many donations as possible.”
When she danced the year before, she was asked to try to raise at least $250, but as a committee member, she must double that. This year’s goal for the event is to break $500,000, which will go to the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Project Kindle (a free summer camp program for HIV-affected children) and the UCLA AIDS Institute, an organization dedicated to the eradication of HIV and AIDS.
Horne-Petersdorf, a political science and environmental studies major, said it means a lot for her to be a part of this event.
“Now that I’m on committee, I have communications with these kids before the actual event. They’re just excited about it as we are. We donate close to $500,000 in 26 hours, so we really make a big impact,” she said.
According to her mother, Rikki Horne, the UCLA student is no stranger to community service.
“You can’t grow up in Ojai without being exposed to the rewards of volunteering and community service,” said Horne, who is on the Ojai Unified School District board of directors. “Barbara began early on at our homeless shelter and continued volunteering through her Jewish youth group and temple, the Ojai Library’s after school homework center and Nordhoff High School’s Interact Club.”
Horne added that she’s proud that her daughter has “carried this important aspect of life to UCLA and to such a worthwhile cause. That dance is involved is a bonus for Barbara, who has been dancing in some form since she was 3 years old. Community service is a win-win situation where the receiver and giver both benefit and the world is that much better off. No one can do it all, but everyone should try to do some part in healing our world.”
Other than working as a committee member for the Dance Marathon, Horne-Petersdorf also interns for TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit organization, twice a week. She also interns for an upcoming smartphone app called GonnaBe and is on the UCLA Homecoming Committee.
“I like to keep myself busy,” she said, adding that after UCLA, she would like to go to law school.
As for the Dance Marathon, Horne-Petersdorf said that there is no training involved to prepare for the event.
“You just got to have the stamina to dance and stay on your feet for 26 hours. … It’s like a big dance party,” she said, sharing that she will do some dancing at the marathon, but will be mostly helping out at booths and keeping morale up for the dancers.
Horne-Petersdorf said that a lot of energy drinks will be the strategy to keep moving for the event’s duration.
“It’s such an experience that time flies. It’s fun, but you also feel great about yourself,” she said. “The event is bigger than us — bigger than one person. When you see these kids that are infected with HIV and they have such a positive outlook, you don’t really think about your feet hurting or anything like that.”
Visit http://bruindancemarathon.org for more information.