Over the past eighteen years, the March of Dimes Collegiate Council has worked to ensure that young volunteers at the University of Florida know the dangers of preterm birth and the steps we can take to prevent it. But now we're beginning to retrace our steps and revisit ideas, events, and activities that promote not only the fundraising aspect of what we do, but the awareness aspect as well.
March of Dimes Collegiate Council was designed to involve college-age youth in various March of Dimes initiatives. Our mission is to do everything we can to help improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality, and we strive to accomplish this by focusing on four primary goals. First, we help students develop personal leadership skills to help prepare them for a future of community involvement. Second, we apply our leadership by organizing fundraisers like our 5K and annual Greek Olympics. While recruiting participants for our fundraisers, we are accomplishing another goal: building a volunteer base for the future of the March of Dimes. And finally, we work to spread March of Dimes public health messages in everything we do.
As college students, we are part of the next generation of parents so it is vital that we learn healthy lifestyles now. Part of the new vision of the March of Dimes Collegiate Council at UF is to begin to focus on and plan programs that heavily emphasize health education. This health education can take many forms, such as participation in freshman orientation with presentations on healthy living or implimentation of healthy living workshops for dormitories, fraternities and sororities. We also encourage students to volunteer to rock babies at neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) or serve as supportive mentors to pregnant teenagers in the community. We can also hold special events like folic acid breakfasts which promote folic acid consumption during childbearing years. We even encourage students to lobby to local, state, and national governments for policies that benefit women and children.
By organizing and conducting these projects, Collegiate Council students gain important leadership skills through activities such as managing a committee or planning and conducting a meeting. Public speaking, goal setting, event planning and production are just a few of the skills that Council activities help develop. Collegiate Council members at UF also pride themselves on being part of the most prominent and successful Collegiate Council in the country.