Photo by Brenda Lin

On Saturday March 7, Tech’s For the Kids (FTK) raised $106,352.42 to help Children’s Miracle Network hospitals. Tech’s Chapter of FTK currently supports Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. This organization hosts many events throughout the year to raise money for the cause, including their largest event, Dance Marathon.

“FTK has grown a lot,” Hope Skalak, a fourth-year BA and this year’s president of FTK, said. “We raised about $30,000 my freshman year, and it was really small and concentrated with just the Greek community. This year, we raised more than $100,000 and had more than 500 dancers, including alumni, staff and students.”

The organization’s willingness to cater to the needs of the students could be a huge reason for this year’s success.

“We ran last year’s Dance Marathon for twelve hours,” Bharat “Bert” Sanders, a second-year BME and this year’s Family Relations Director, said, “but we realized that students here aren’t able to commit to that many hours, and we would do a lot better if we condensed the number of hours to make them quality over quantity.”

Besides condensing the hours of Dance Marathon, the organization has taken strides in becoming more diverse to reach a wider audience. The passion and closeness of this year’s executive board is another factor that contributed to FTK’s accomplishment.

“This year, we did a lot of outreach towards non-Greek affiliated campus organizations to try and unite the entire campus,” Sanders said. “We have an incredibly diverse board that is very passionate about FTK.”

“They are some of my favorite people,” Skalak said. “We hang out all the time. We even go to Jenni’s every Monday.”

Together, the members were able to have some memorable and humbling moments.

“Being able to support the Miracle kids is definitely the most rewarding part of being in FTK,” Skalak said.

Similarly to Skalak, Sanders enjoyed the personal interactions he had with all the families.  The highlight of Dance Marathon for him, however, was the Room of Hope.

“Because Dance Marathon was shorter this year, we had to find a creative way to honor all of the families. It was a peaceful room with pictures of the Miracle kids and their stories all around the room,” Sanders said. “The best part about the room was that people would write cards to the kids and then hang them from the ceiling on fishing wire. It was very inspirational.”

Terynne Burgan, second-year IE and member of the FTK Finance Committee, cited revealing the amount raised as her favorite moment. She even held the “1” of “100,000” during the reveal.

“It was so exciting because we beat our goal of $100,000. Throughout this whole year, we kept talking about how we wanted to flip the ‘1,’ and seeing everyone’s faces when we beat our goal was awesome,” Burgan said.

While the organization has made strides, the members want to see this organization grow further. Sanders hopes for more people to know why they are raising money.

“When an organization truly gets in touch with why they are doing something, that’s when it flourishes,” Sanders said. “We know what we do: we fundraise. But why we do it? It’s for the kids. I want it to become more a part of the campus culture.”

The organization hopes to raise over a quarter million dollars in the next few years.