Northwestern University’s undergraduate students will dance for 30 consecutive hours on March 4-6, 2022 as a part of Northwestern University Dance Marathon (NUDM) to raise money for Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) and the Evanston Community Foundation (ECF). The marathon will celebrate a yearlong philanthropic effort to help Chicago’s youth overcome systemic inequities and obtain the higher education necessary to break the cycle of poverty.
NUDM, one of the largest student-run philanthropies in the country and the largest student group on Northwestern’s campus, selected Chicago Youth Programs as its primary beneficiary in the spring of 2021. CYP is a nonprofit organization striving to improve the life opportunities and health of youth in low-income neighborhoods, primarily on the south and west sides of Chicago, through long-term academic, emotional and mental support. From CYP’s “Read to Me” program that fosters young children’s interest in written language to providing organized SAT prep for high school students, CYP’s academic support options are extensive. CYP is also a trauma-informed agency using the best practices to help youth identify and articulate their emotions in a productive way.
“Chicago Youth Programs has been an incredible partner to NUDM,” said Executive Co-Chair Cady DeCamara, “With the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, we have witnessed CYP’s ability to be flexible but unwavering in their support of their participants. They have a unique ability to center each individual in their journey to higher education, focusing not just on the educational component, but also on the wellness and passions of each youth, something that our community has really resonated with.”
Through its work this year, NUDM hopes to help CYP further develop and expand their services throughout the city of Chicago. A portion of the NUDM grant will go towards adding staff positions to the CYP team, such as a licensed social worker who will provide individual and family therapy, crisis intervention and case management for participants. NUDM’s grant will also help CYP create a modular classroom on Chicago’s south side to broaden the reach of early literacy programs.
CYP takes an individualized approach to caring for each of their students. As they grow, CYP youth receive individualized and structured academic help, creating a unique learning experience for each student. Over the last five years, 100% of CYP participants have graduated from high school and 98% have been placed into life-transforming higher education.
This year, NUDM will return to its traditional 30-hours of dancing. Covid-19 has stopped students from participating in an in-person Dance Marathon for two years; in 2020 the event was canceled and last year it was completely online. In 2022, however, the tent is back and a staple Northwestern tradition is returning in full swing.
The NUDM community, along with risk management teams from Northwestern, are working to ensure the safest in-person experience possible for dancers. There are several risk guides in place to diminish the spread of Covid-19 in the tent, and to keep all participants happy and healthy. All dancers will be asked to wear a mask for the duration of their time in the tent. There will be ample PPE, including masks, sanitizing stations and hand wipes, available to dancers during the event. NUDM is asking that all dancers show a green badge on their Northwestern University symptom tracker and be tested 24 hours prior to the event, regardless of vaccination status.
“We could not be more excited to be able to bring our NUDM community back together to dance safely,” said DeCamara, “We won’t take this opportunity to celebrate our year of fundraising for granted and cannot wait to introduce three years of Northwestern students to the best 30 hours of the year.”
NUDM 2022 begins at 7:00 PM on Friday, March 4, and concludes at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 6. It will take place at Norris University Center (1999 Campus Drive), on the University’s Evanston campus. A livestream of the event can be viewed online at www.nudm.org. Donations for this year’s event can be made online at nudm.org
Chicago Youth Programs (CYP) is a nonprofit organization striving to improve the life opportunities and health of youth in low-income neighborhoods, primarily on the south and west sides of Chicago, through long-term academic, emotional and mental support. CYP promotes the broad development of cognitive, behavioral and social capabilities for youth navigating a wide variety of societal inequities through a range of services, including but not limited to early literacy programming, academic tutoring, crisis intervention, and restorative justice programming. Since its infancy in 1984 as the “Cabrini Green Youth Program,” CYP has grown into an organization serving youth and families in at least 30 of Chicago’s 50 wards. Overall, CYP has served roughly 18,000 youths through its programs, services and health clinics. To learn more about CYP and their work, visit www.chicagoyouthprograms.org.
The Evanston Community Foundation (ECF) is NUDM’s secondary beneficiary for the 25th consecutive year. ECF is an independent public charity that works to strengthen Evanston and its surrounding areas. Since its founding in 1986, ECF has awarded numerous grants and endowment funds to deserving individuals, families and organizations with the goal of helping Evanston thrive now and forever as a vibrant, inclusive and just community. NUDM has given more than $1 million to ECF over its partnership. To learn more about ECF, visit www.evanstonforever.org.
Northwestern University Dance Marathon is one of the largest independent student-run philanthropies in the country, raising more than $20 million in its 48-year history, including more than $1 million in each of our past nine in-person events. Last year, while Covid-19 stopped students from the traditional 30 hours of dancing, it did not deter NUDM from hosting its first virtual event and raising well over a half a million dollars for its beneficiaries. To learn more, visit www.nudm.org.