Melissa Jarboe, Advisor for Apollo High School DanceBlue Committee:
Apollo High School’s DanceBlue started 6 years ago with 12 students and an advisor who wasn’t quite sure what she was doing. We had 90 students participate in our first 5-hour mini marathon and raised $5,700—we were ecstatic! Five years later, a 50 student member committee, 240 participants—we raised $68,000! Wow! Time has flown by. We have learned a lot. And our FTK spirit has taken over us all!
I’ve been a teacher for 21 years and children are my passion! I love to empower them, see them achieve their goals, and watch them grow into incredible young adults by the time they graduate high school. This is why I became a teacher. I’ve always sponsored service-type clubs as I believe in the motto of leaving the world a better place than how you found it. When DanceBlue came into my career, it changed so much for me. I pray for the families who are supporting their children and praying for a cure. As a mother, I cannot imagine the worry they must feel. The families that I have met through the years I’ve been a part of DanceBlue are so strong and positive—it is for them that I will continue to be a part of this organization.
Owensboro is 3 hours away from Lexington and my students may never meet a child with pediatric cancer at the DanceBlue Clinic, but they can empathize with those who have been diagnosed. Each one of us has known someone who has been impacted by cancer. We talk about For The Kids every committee meeting. I want my students to keep in their hearts & thoughts why we participate in DanceBlue. We are a committee of kids raising money For The Kids. I want my students to realize that they are blessed to be healthy and not to have the worries that clinic families currently have. My students have the opportunity to help someone and make their day just a bit easier with the money we raise. We pay very close attention to UK DanceBlue’s social media accounts, particularly the postings about the clinic and the families. We keep these families in our thoughts as we plan another event for our school. We want our student body to know that we can all leave an impact and help another.
Our personal club goal is to make all of Owensboro FTK. We invite other schools to participate in our mini. We visit local elementary and middle schools and have helped them to host their own micro minis. We invite their DanceBlue groups to come to our mini & do a check presentation on our stage. We have a great relationship with several local businesses who have become partners for us and help us to host our mini each year. German American Bank, formerly First Security Bank, has been with us since our very first mini. They support some of our fundraising events through the year and then attend our mini as our largest sponsor. Local restaurants donate food and snacks for our participants during our marathon. We could not host our mini as we do if we did not have the support of our community.
Trevor, Apollo’s 2019 Overall Chair:
I initially joined DanceBlue my Sophomore year at the urging of some close friends of mine. Throughout my first year on the committee at Apollo, I viewed DanceBlue as an opportunity to have fun and make friends while doing a good thing for others. One can say that I was more spectator than participant my sophomore year, as I was too scared to make a mistake and not confident enough to make a suggestion or ask a question. I know now that at the time I didn’t fully grasp the scope of DB, but knew that I wanted to do a little more to help the cause. As I progressed into my junior year, and second year on the committee, I took a small step forward and began to apply myself more into making a difference in the committee. I actively participated in meetings, I helped to organize events, and even became a more impactful member of the fundraising team charged with securing partnerships with local businesses.
As the year went on, my curiosity rose. What drove us? Why are we doing this? What impact does all of this work truly make? All of these questions were put to rest whenever I attended UK’s DB for the first time last winter. In the hours I spent spectating the hundreds of participants, one hour, in particular, stood out to me. For an entire hour, children treated at the clinic funded by DB came on stage in front of a massive crowd and had a talent show. From singing to dancing, sword fighting to magic tricks, child after child went up there and had a blast. These children, who just months (some even weeks) ago were faced with the dire circumstances of pediatric cancer, were able to live a normal childhood and experience the joy every child should. It brought full circle the entire scope of DB- what all of the hard work, sweat and, in special occasions, tears were shed for. Having the opportunity to observe kids who otherwise would be sitting in bed behaving as any normal child would finally provided the motivation to take even more action than before.
Witnessing the impact DanceBlue’s work had on these children finally allowed me to see what purpose our organization holds and ultimately drive me towards a new purpose in my life. The whole purpose of a life should be to make a positive impact in the world, and DanceBlue affords us all a great avenue to do so through.
This being my senior year, I applied to become the student leader of our DanceBlue at Apollo. Thankfully, I earned the position, and through the first months of holding it, we have had great successes, along with a few learning experiences along the way. However, when times get rough and I feel my focus and motivation slipping, I remember those kids on that stage and it reinvigorates me every time. That’s why I DanceBlue.