P4K increases amount raised from last year



The organization utilized Venmo as a way to receive donations for the hospital. At the end of the night board members; Cristina Fonte: Executive Director, Suede Graham: Faculty Advisor, Francesca McLiverty: Morale dance director, Elizabeth Lucey: Finance and Fundraising director, Katie Bevilacqua: Special events and logistics director, Mariana Barajas: Family relations director and Shannon Kelley: Communications and Marketing director helped raise over $11,000.  Students who are interested on joining the board for next year can reach out to Fonte.

Katie Walsh, Managing Editor

145 student participants, five miracle families, faculty and staff members gathered in Gottesman Saturday night for the 7th annual Pace 4 Kids (P4K) dance marathon. 

The amount raised was revealed at the end of the night by executive board members and faculty advisor Suede Graham. $11,327 was raised this year, which well exceeds the $523 that was raised last year.

According the board members, “P4K, or Pace 4 Kids, is a student-run organization that raises money for Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital.” Maria Fereri Children’s Hospital is located in Westchester, New York and is just down the road from the Pleasantville campus. 

The dance marathon lasted six hours and was themed under the sea. Throughout the event, the executive board emphasized the importance of standing or kneeling throughout the night  in honor of those who are physically unable.

The event was filled with storytelling, dancing and donations for the kids. Five different miracle families told their stories from Maria Ferari. In addition, the group showcased four different videos that were created by the hospital.

P4K previously held auditions for morale dancers at the event. Morale Dance Director, Francesca McLiverty, taught these dancers a lengthy dance to a mashup of different songs. As always, the dance was then taught to everyone in the crowd in bits and pieces. At the end of the night, it was all put together as a whole and videotaped to be sent to the hospital.  

Furthermore, there were raffles, prizes and the opportunity to talk and play with the children of the miracle families, while raising money for the hospital. 

Interim Dean for students Rachel Carpenter announced at the start to all the participants that the event is giving back to the community and fulfilling the promise that was made seven years ago to help raise money for the children’s hospital. Over the history of P4K, the organization has helped to raise around $110,000 dollars for Maria Ferari. 

The planning of the event has been in the works since March of 2019. Executive Director, Christina Fonte explained the hard work that goes into the event. 

“Every little detail and every minute of the six-hour event needs to be planned out in a schedule. Finding sponsors, getting in touch with families to come to the event, and recruiting people to sign up and donate to the event takes a lot of time and effort,” Fonte said.

Graham, the first-year advisor, added that the board meets weekly and was in constant communication throughout the summer to plan for the event. In addition, the group has held other fundraising events, like a bake sale and a car smash, throughout the semester to help raise money for the kids.        

Samantha Bassford and Caity Kirschbaum, were the two original founders of the event seven years ago. The two continue to return to the event each year as Pace alum to help support the tradition they began on campus.

Kirschbaum’s passion and desire to create the organization came during a rough time for her family.  

“My brother was impacted, he had a brain aneurysm at a very young age,” Kirschbaum said. “It was one of the first reported brain aneurysms in a young child…” 

  At this time Kirschbaum was attending Pace, while also being there for her family. She was able to find supportive connections at the hospital, as well as a  supportive family at Pace. Her goal was to bring those two families together.

Kirschbaum worked with Bassford and other students to make the vision a reality and connect Pace to its community. 

The first ever P4K was held in the Wilcox Gym (which is no longer in existence), and was a 12 hour marathon with 850 students in attendance. 

Kirschbaum added that she and Bassford used to talk about the future of P4K.

“We actually in the first year, were talking about how incredible it would be if we could come back in 10 years and it’s weird for me now because we are at year seven, we are almost at the 10 year mark,” Kirschbaum said.  

In addition to, Bassford and Kirschbaum attending every single P4K, one miracle family has also been in attendance every year. Sophia and her mom have attended every single P4K Pace has had. However, this year it was special for the family, as well as, those who have previously attended the dance marathons, to watch Sophia tell her own side of the story for the first time instead of having her mom tell her story. 

The two also sent their appreciation for Dean Carpenter, as she has been in attendance and has been supportive throughout the existence of P4K and has been a key component in the transition of board members each year.  

Fonte has now been the executive director for P4K for two years, and has attended the event all three years of her Pace experience, her passion for the organization and raising money for Maria Ferari, similarly to Kirschbaum, comes from her family’s own experience, 

“In 2017, my brother spent a month at Maria Fareri and underwent an extensive and painful surgery caused by fusobacterium. In 2018, my brother suffered from an ATV accident, had reconstructive hip surgery, and spent 3 weeks at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital before entering a rehabilitation center for further recovery,” Fonte said. “From my brother’s time at the hospital, I can see how caring and precise the doctors and nurses who cared for him. That is why I continue to support this cause each year.”

Fonte is hoping to see the number of participants grow over the next few years to increase the support for the local hospital. 

Although the money raised was higher than last year, Kirschbaum says there has been a downward trend of attendants,

“I’ve noticed that there’s less people that come every year. That doesn’t mean that it is less important to the members that are planning it every year,” stated Kirschbaum.