Senior Loves Building Communities


King has been an active member of Fordham Dance Marathon (FDM). (Courtesy of Instagram)

Kelly King’s excited energy is immediately contagious, as is her “swaggy” mindset. It was shockingly easy to schedule an interview with King, FCRH ’22, considering that she seems to be involved with at least a half a dozen campus clubs. From Best Buddies to the Fordham Business Development Collaboratory, King strives to make connections and uplift her community in any way she can. Nowhere is this drive more evident than her dedicated involvement with Fordham Dance Marathon (FDM).

King explained that FDM is a student organization that is a year-long fundraising effort for pediatric cancer. All of FDM’s campaigns and organizing culminate in their titular event, the Dance Marathon, which is a 10-hour dance marathon scheduled for April 2. 

FDM, which works in conjunction with the Residence Halls Association, also partners with the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. Together they raise awareness about childhood cancer and raise money for families impacted by the disease. King says the money is raised to help families “focus on what truly matters, which is making sure their child is healthy and alive… even though they are going through really serious treatment.”

FDM involves a lot of working parts and relies on several task forces to make sure everything, from fundraising to events, runs smoothly. King plays an integral role in this organization. She has been  involved with FDM since 2019, and this year she is acting as the Hero Director. The Heroes are children affected by cancer who are paired with FDM to give them a larger community of support. As Hero Director, King’s job is to “make sure they feel like a kid, and they enjoy life.”

This involves planning activities, such as birthday parties, for the children or inviting them to campus for athletic events. King adds that activities can be low-key, and that quite a few weekly, hour-long sessions have been spent playing Roblox. 

The passion King has for working with FDM’s Heroes is palpable; just the mention of one of the Heroes causes an uptick in her voice and her eyes to shine even brighter than before (and I’m willing to bet there’s a matching smile underneath her mask, too). 

FDM’s hero campaign is all about offering support and morale to families and kids who need it, making themselves available and building a friendly community. However, there is a bit of a “struggle” when the Heroes “outgrow” the program because FDM still “[wants] to be there for them,” said King. In cases like this, King and her team (one which consists of five other coordinators) try to understand and keep up-to-date with their Heroes’ interests — they put in the effort to make the kids’ experience personal.

King has always been a “people person” and generously volunteers to help people of all ages, but the work she does with FDM as Hero Director is personal, too. When she was 16, King had a benign brain tumor. Today she refers to herself as “one of the lucky ones.” 

In a pensive manner, King says it is her “obligation” to help FDM’s Heroes. “I know what it’s like to sit in a hospital bed … it almost feels like you’re out of control, and the feeling of, like, helplessness.” With her Heroes, she strives to do “whatever I can to help.”

Aside from volunteering her time to children who are in similar situations as she was, this year she has also personally raised $2,146 for the B+ Foundation through FDM. Over the past seven years, FDM has raised more than half a million dollars for the foundation , and are well on their way to superseding their goal for this year. 

In addition to FDM, King takes part in other activities that aim to foster connection. As a member of Best Buddies, King befriends and partakes in activities with people with different intellectual and developmental abilities. 

In her work with Fordham Business Development Collaboratory, King helps market local small businesses. King is also a part of Our Story, a once a semester event hosted by Fordham’s Social Innovation Collaboratory, where students share stories about their lives. King relishes the opportunity to share the experiences of others because she finds that “we just pass each other by and have shallow conversations.” King wants to build connections. 

After graduation, King will further her passion for helping and working with others as a student coordinator in a charter school in Newark, New Jersey, In her professional life, King hopes to continue to build communities and inspire people to do the same.

King is the embodiment of positivity and enthusiasm — her go-to karaoke song is “Don’t Stop Believin’.” She is surely someone who will set the world on fire, and we should be grateful that she infused that spirit into so many remarkable Fordham organizations.