Students dance to raise money for children in need

Roscoe’s Rock-A-Thon 2006, held on Oct. 7 in the Recreation Center, brought members of the College community together for a night of dancing in support of a common cause – to help needy children.

The College’s Golden Key International Honor Society sponsored its first ever Rock-A-Thon to raise money for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mercer County (BBBS) mentoring program. Sororities, fraternities, ambassadors, BBBS organizers, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Golden Key members danced to celebrate their donations.

They couldn’t have asked for more. When asked about the projected donation goal for the evening, Marissa Eckrote, senior health and exercise science major and vice president of Golden Key, said, “The fact that it’s the first Rock-A-Thon, anything (we raise) is a profit.”

Golden Key raised $8,681 from online donations.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Golden Key and BBBS, more students at the College have become aware of the need to help get kids off of the streets and out of gangs.

“(BBBS) was designed to change the fabric of the community,” Sue Dunning, executive director of BBBS, said. “It’s a win-win situation for everyone and the College students learn what it is to be a role model.”

BBBS has been helping children in Mercer County since 1973. Students and local adults are welcome to be mentors by donating an hour a week to these children. BBBS organizers emphasize that students without access to cars can mentor kids from Antheil Elementary School, on Ewingville Road. Kids in need of Big Brothers and Sisters often end up spending most of their day in morning and after-school care because they don’t have parents to spend time with them at home.

Twenty-three-year-old Becky Brown of Bordentown, who was present at the Rock-A-Thon, met her “little angel,” eight-year-old Nick, in October 2005 while substitute teaching. She knew he was crying in class and spending 12-hour days in school. She also knew she couldn’t let him finish the year like that.

Becky found out that Nick’s situation at a foster home wasn’t a great environment. Adoption seemed extreme, so she turned to the Big Brother Big Sister program and became Nick’s mentor.

Jackie Lenox of BBBS commented, “Look at the camaraderie of these excellent role models,” referring to the massive group of students dancing the “Cotton-Eye Joe.” She also took the time to exalt her friend and BBBS director of Development Arleen Erikson, who was present at the Rock-A-Thon playing musical chairs with students.

“Arleen was very instrumental in making this a success,” Lenox said.

Prizes that were awarded included New Jersey Nets tickets, a digital camera, an overnight stay at the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, and gift certificates to local restaurants and stores including Enzo’s Restaurant, Longhorn Steakhouse and J. Crew. The person that raised the most money won a seven day Caribbean cruise for two, including airfare, compliments of Cruise Holidays of Mercer County.