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Sylvania Southview High School students raise more than $20,000 for local charity

In a yearly fundraiser, the students raised $20,920 for Justice for Sierah.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Sylvania Southview students have a reason to be proud: They raised tens of thousands of dollars for a cause that directly impacts our community.

Dance 4 A Chance or D4AC, is normally 12 consecutive hours of Sylvania Southview High School students on their feet, dancing and competing in events. It's the culmination of months of planning and raising money for a cause in our community. 

"No matter what part of the school you come from, whether it's the theatre or dance, volleyball. Whatever you do, Dance for a Chance just brings everybody together," said Southview Senior Lindy Griesinger.

It's the fourth year Griesinger has participated. Each year a different cause is chosen to support. This year's cause, chosen by the students, is important to them. 

"This year I think 'Justice for Sierah' is an important one because it hits so close to home. It's very close. And it's not fair. It's not right. And if you know high schoolers, we're very opinionated so obviously we're going to fight for this," said Griesinger.

Justice For Sierah was formed in honor of Evergreen Graduate and University of Toledo student Sierah Joughin, who was kidnapped and murdered by a repeat, violent offender when she was 20 years old.

The organization has worked to pass a state law, to create a violent offender database. It also works to teach self-defense and is getting into the school to provide curriculum to empower young people. 

This year's D4AC was different. Since students couldn't be on campus, they took the event virtual, participating in a number of fun challenges. More than 280 students took part. Their advisors couldn't be more proud as the students raised $20,920. 

"Great shout out to the kids. One, to give up their time and money and efforts to participate in something like this. I think sometimes kids get a bad rap," said Intervention Specialist with Southview High School, Christina Awls.

Tara Ice, Sierah's Aunt and president of Justice for Sierah was shocked and moved when organizers made the announcement in a video. She wrote in a statement:

"I am in shock of this amazing team and the spirited group of kids and all the hard work they put into making this year's D4AC one to remember! It was so fun to watch the virtual challenges and the creativity and support they showed. Thank you everyone at D4AC for choosing our organization to be your cause this year and for raising funds for us to continue our work."

The money will help in the development of Sierah Strong curriculum with the goal to educate and empower our youth with safety skills and techniques that will be taught each year.

"Dance for a chance takes something that's not so good and it turns it into somethign better and something that helps the community," says Griesinger.

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