The Many Avenues of Volunteering

Guest submission by Maddison Lange, current Miss Muscatine titleholder

One of the major misconceptions people have about volunteering is that only one avenue is available to help others. Yes, giving your time is very important and you can help and impact many people, but you can help people in more than one way. A type of volunteering I have become accustomed to is philanthropy and fundraising.

As a student at the University of Iowa, I am involved in numerous organizations that are service oriented and philanthropic in nature. During my freshman year at the University of Iowa I wanted to find another outlet where I could use my passion for volunteering and I found Dance Marathon, which is the largest student run organization on the University of Iowa campus. Our mission is to “create and sustain special projects to provide emotional and financial support for pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant patients and their families treated at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital.”

dance 1

This organization is a year-round effort with events, fundraising, and the Big Event in February. During the Big Event, students come together to celebrate survivors, to remember children who have passed away, and to battle to help defeat pediatric cancer. Members dance for 24 straight hours during the Big Event! Last year we raised over $2.5 million for the kids and families.

running 1

Taking on this challenge, I have also opted into running the Chicago Marathon in October in support of Dance Marathon. As an avid volunteer and future pediatric oncologist, I am extremely passionate about this cause. Dance Marathon has taught me not every form of volunteering is physical. I participate in numerous physical volunteering events, but these events are philanthropic. Do not be afraid to expand your horizons and see what different opportunities are available to give back and volunteer. Even if you do not feel you have the time to give, other avenues are available. As Elizabeth Andrew said, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart.” So go out and explore what opportunities await you!

Are you interested in writing about volunteering and how it’s impacted you?  Email us at!

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