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Turlock native, UCLA student dances for a cause
Jose Ortiz poses in Bruges during his time studying abroad in summer of 2013. - photo by Photo Contributed



While giving back to the community takes many forms, Turlock native Jose Ortiz is taking a unique approach: dancing. Jose will be donating 26 hours of his time to participate in a dance marathon for the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at his school, the University of California, Los Angeles.

The UCLA Pediatric Aids Coalition is the largest student-run philanthropic organization on the West Coast and for the last 12 years it has drawn major attention for its 26 hour dance marathon. Students volunteer to either dance for 26 hours or cheer on the dancers in shifts all while enjoying good music and food. The goal is to raise money and educate individuals about pediatric HIV and AIDS, and so far the coalition has donated 3.5 million to beneficiaries. As part of his involvement, Ortiz has volunteered to raise $250 dollars and plans to work with 21 peers of his Kappa Alpha Pi Pre-Law co-ed fraternity to raise the funds for the event.

“I found out about the dance marathon after some friends were moralers, who are people that go in shifts to the 26 hour event to keep the dancers motivated. I was told it was a ‘must do’ activity before I graduated so I signed on board,” said Ortiz.

Ortiz  is preparing his body for the event through his athletic extracurricular activities such as his most recent interest, triathlon training. As someone who loves to swim, Ortiz thought it was a natural next step to kick it up a notch and tackle biking and running as well. Staying active while in school serves as a reprieve from studying and with plans to attend law school shortly after graduation, he is a serious student. Ortiz is also grateful that the dance marathon will occur early on in the semester on April 5-6, leaving him plenty of time to prepare for dreaded finals.

“I’m not too worried about staying up late since I am a college student, so that’s not so big of a deal. However, I do think it’s good to be doing this in a group, I think we will help motivate each other and I’m looking forward to the event,” he said.

Those who are interested in donating to Ortiz’s fundraiser can do so by accessing his website All donations are tax deductible.