As a freshman, Lauren Sapp was shy and passive. The soon-to-be graduate never imaged stepping outside her comfort zone, let alone leading hundreds of students in one of the largest fundraisers on campus.
“I lived in the same small town my entire life, so I knew everyone there,” said Sapp, who is majoring in mass communication. “As a freshman I was very quiet; I sat back and really stayed out of the spotlight.”
As time went by, she got more comfortable and found her place on campus— that was serving the community.
“As a member of Phi Mu sorority, I was able to get involved with our philanthropy, and that opened several leadership opportunities for me,” said Sapp.
She knew her passion had always been working with children. It just took some time to realize exactly what type of work that would be, and she found it by rolling up her sleeves and jumping headfirst into organizing Dance Marathon.
“This year’s Dance Marathon will be held April 2 at Centennial Center. Our goal is to raise $85,000 for the Children’s Hospital in Macon,” said Sapp. “This year the Dance Marathon is circus themed. We will have 28 Miracle Kids that come with their parents to talk about how important the hospital is to them.”
Miracle network dance marathon is a movement of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a nonprofit organization that raises funds and awareness for more than 170 pediatric hospitals. As the only children’s charity committed to 100 percent of the funds raised staying local, the miracle network dance marathon has raised more than $135 million for kids across North America since it began.
Sapp’s invovlement with Dance Marathon gave her a chance to hone in on her future career aspiration.
“My goal is to work for a children’s hospital in event planning and public relations,” she said. “Through volunteering for Dance Marathon, I’ve been able to meet Kathy Tolbert, who does that job at the hospital in Macon. She’s given me direction on my major and how to get started in the field.”
Last year, Sapp and the hundreds of other students involved raised more than $72,000, and their goal is to continue to grow.
“It seems every where we turn lately, we hear about an event called Dance Marathon. Even though the title is a little misleading it’s the largest service and fundraising event on campus,” said Kendall Stiles, senior director for community engagement at Georgia College and the GIVE Center. “This event is powerful, inspiring, amazing and impactful. However the reason the event is so successful is that they have a small committed and passionate number of student leaders who are leading this effort and Lauren Sapp is one of those student leaders.”
Sapp’s dedication to service extends beyond the Dance Marathon Service Project. She’s also organized other service projects including Jammin’ for Julia, a lip-sync and dance competition in honor of a sorority sister who passed away in 2013.
“I have told Lauren many times that we use her as an example of a Greek letter organization student who has a passion for service and is setting the example for others,” said Stiles. “She has a heart of gold as well as a heart for those precious children they are helping everyday. I feel you can't hardly say Dance Marathon and miracle kids without thinking about Lauren Sapp.”
For Sapp, her time at GC has not only allowed her to grow in experience, but also as a person.
“I never knew I loved service until I started working with the GIVE Center and my sorority,” said Sapp. “I’ve gained the confidence to grow as a person and am definitely not the same person I was as a freshman. It would not have been possible without all of my experiences at Georgia College.”
For more information on this year’s Dance Marathon, visit https://www.facebook.com/GCMiracle/.