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Celebrating our 2022 Class of Next Generation Philanthropists

Next Generation Philanthropists

Riley Children’s Foundation is proud to announce the Next Generation Philanthropists Class of 2022. This graduating class of high school seniors has displayed exceptional leadership and character through their contributions to their school’s Riley Dance Marathon or Kids Caring & Sharing™ program.

This fifth annual class includes students from across the state. They serve as shining representatives of the students at dozens of high schools who fundraised for Riley Dance Marathon and Kids Caring & Sharing™ during the 2021-22 school year. They have been a part of established Riley fundraising programs and started new fundraising efforts. They are Riley kids and Riley siblings. They have spent hundreds of hours raising thousands of dollars–all for the kids who depend on Riley Children’s Health.

Introducing the Next Generation Philanthropists Class of 2022:

• Maureen Barrett, Terre Haute North Vigo High School (Terre Haute, IN) – In addition to serving three years as president of North’s Dance Marathon, Maureen also led her school’s fundraising efforts for the Tackle Cancer campaign, which supports the Precision Genomics program at Riley in memory of her older brother, Patrick. “My drive to have successful events, get people involved, and teach them the ‘why’ behind the event has led me to grow comfortable in who I am as a leader,” she said.

• Shay Berry, Westfield High School (Westfield, IN) – As Vice President of Fundraising for Westfield Dance Marathon, Shay was most proud of working with her committees to implement a new, week-long fundraising competition with a rival school. “Dance Marathon and all the people I’ve had the pleasure of working with have shown me my passion for organizing, leading, and helping others,” she said.

• Elliott Brown, Southport High School (Indianapolis) – To maintain her school’s connection to Riley during the COVID-19 pandemic, Elliot led efforts to host their first-ever outdoor dance marathon in spring 2021. “Nothing compares to that feeling of knowing you connected dozens of people for one cause close to your heart,” she said.

• Maya Francisco, Westfield High School (Westfield, IN) – One of Maya’s goals during her year as President of Westfield Dance Marathon was to develop more student leaders outside of the executive team, so she created an internship program with over 20 participants. “I was a very timid leader in the beginning of year compared to where I am now. Now I feel like I can command a room,” she said.

• Anna Kantar, Westfield High School (Westfield, IN) – As Finance Chair of Westfield Dance Marathon, Anna initiated a week-long fundraising competition with a nearby school, which not only supported fundraising but also brought together students and Riley families who wouldn’t have otherwise had an opportunity to connect. “By allowing me to have an impact that reaches far past my school and city, Dance Marathon has shown me how dedication to the little things is what makes big change,” she said.

• Grace Miller, Carmel High School (Carmel, IN) – Grace took over a leadership position that had been vacant for two years and helped her peers reconnect to the Riley cause by dedicating each month of fundraising to a different Riley patient and sharing their story with students. “Being able to share the lifesaving care Riley is able to provide and connecting it to high school students will forever be a meaningful project,” she said.

• Dhillon Parikshak, Carmel High School (Carmel, IN) – After two years without a traditional dance marathon event at his school, Dhillon created new ways to recruit student participants as well as increase their engagement during the marathon. “My development from introvert to enthusiastic leader was not easy, but this cause has brought out the best in me,” he said.

• Sophia Ruble, Garrett High School (Garrett, IN) – During three years of chairing her school’s “Riley Week” fundraiser, Sophia learned the power of engaging the local community in events and using her neighbors’ Riley stories as motivation. “It created a stronger bond of unity between our high school and community. Personally, seeing the difference we made meant more than any financial goal we could ever obtain,” she said.

• Carter Swathwood, Harrison High School (Lafayette) – Carter began fundraising for Riley and participating in Dance Marathon after his own Riley experience at 9 years old. He used his learnings from other schools to plan socially distant fundraisers during the pandemic and teach underclassmen about Dance Marathon after two years of canceled events. “I hope that my impact goes far beyond fundraising and that I have inspired others to advocate for and support Riley Hospital for Children,” he said.

•MaKayla Waugh, Homestead High School (Fort Wayne) – Makayla led the creation of Homestead’s annual Riley Football Night, which brought together students, faculty, and the community in support of Riley and is now a template for other fundraisers. “Being a part of something bigger than yourself changes the trajectory of care provided at Riley,” she said.

On behalf of all of us at Riley Children’s Foundation, congratulations and thank you for all you’ve done for Riley kids!