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RaiseRED- The Family You Will Never Forget

As a freshman coming to UofL, I was terrified. For the first time since entering high school, I had no idea how to invest my time outside of classes. I have always loved extracurricular activities but was overwhelmed at the thought of starting all over again at a much larger school. I joined an organization where I immediately felt at home. I watched so many amazing women pursue their passions and uplift one another at the same time. Most notably, I remember Reagan Miller so passionately talking about the most amazing 18-hours of the year, raiseRED. She encouraged me to register and, at the very last minute, I raised my minimum to dance. The entire time after registration, I was nervous that I would not raise enough money and was even more scared that I would get tired after an intensive 18-hours. After the marathon my freshman year, I realized that if I had not taken the leap of faith to register, I would not be the same person I am today.

My sophomore year, I applied to be the Student Outreach Coordinator for my organization. A couple of my friends had also applied that year and I was excited to become more involved. Being Student Outreach Coordinator was no easy feat. Suddenly I was the person passionately talking to my organization about registration, fundraising, and the most amazing 18-hours. At every SOC meeting and committee gathering, I met new people and built strong relationships. Our Student Involvement Coordinator, Madison Chumbler, made sure that each SOC felt empowered and knew the importance of each dancer and dollar. During the marathon, I found a new sense of fun within raiseRED. I spent more time talking to dancers, goofing off at baggage claim, and hanging out with Kaleb who is one of our Cardinal Crew buddies! I still danced but I spent more time meeting new people and making more friends.

My junior year, I knew I had to stay involved with raiseRED, despite the many new

responsibilities I was taking on as a student, volunteer, and employee. I applied to be a Morale Captain and was excited to explore a new avenue of leadership within raiseRED. As a Morale Captain, I was still the person to speak passionately about raiseRED but this time it was to students outside of my organization. I met so many amazing people from every corner of campus. I was more engaged with other members of committee and was less nervous to talk to people about raiseRED. The coordinators for Morale Captains, Team Leaders, and SOCs made sure that everyone felt welcome and facilitated relationships outside of the meeting settings. During this time, I was asked to be a Cardinal Crew mentor to a girl who wanted to learn piano. Alexis, my Cardinal Crew buddy, and I spent an hour each week playing piano and getting to know each other. Soon after lessons started, I attended Kid Prom where I gained another Cardinal Crew buddy named Natalie. I continued to give Alexis piano lessons and Natalie and I danced the night away at the marathon. That year at the marathon, I met so many more Cardinal Crew families and dancers. I felt like I was part of something much greater than myself and knew that I was involved with much more than an extracurricular organization.

This year, as a senior, I serve as the Cardinal Crew Coordinator. I have loved getting to know all of our families, clinic and social workers, doctors, Cardinal Crew mentors, raiseRED leadership, and dancers. I have loved getting to know our Service Ambassadors and watching the growth of a whole other side of our organization. Freshman year, I had no idea that raiseRED would also become my home away from home. I was a scared and nervous dancer that could never have predicted the amazing family that would soon surround me throughout my college years. The raiseRED family has taught me to enjoy every moment, the value of perseverance, the need for hope, and what it is to be truly resilient. This family is filled with our Cardinal Crew families, doctors, mentors, clinic and social workers, leadership, dancers, those engaged in service, and students who may be interested but still need that extra push to register. I needed that push too, but now I could not imagine my life without raiseRED and without the family that I will never forget.


Isabella Martin

Cardinal Crew Coordinator

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