Organization Interviews: Ohana

Ohana is the Hawaiian word for family, which is exactly what twelve Penn State student sought to create in 2008 when they founded the organization. Besides a very memorable name, that easily sticks in your head due to the Disney hit Lilo and Stitch, Ohana has many other characteristics that make it stand out.

In it’s very first year, Ohana raised $85,823.24 and earned a spot into the top three independent THON organizations. In 2011, Ohana raised more than $229,000 and ranked third out of all THON organizations. While it’s clear this organization puts in their time in effort into raising money for the Four Diamonds, they boast on their website that the money they raised in 2011 was not their proudest moment. Instead, it was during their first year when they received their first Four Diamonds family, The Goods. The organization president, Emily Spor, just announced that Ohana has just adopted it’s fourth family. The Ohana president also commented on why forty-six hours of endless dancing was worth it.

“Ohana has had a really big impact on my time here at Penn State. I had trouble at first fitting in to the THON community, and I think Ohana is where I really found my niche. I really love the people and I love our Four Diamonds families… The work with our families is what makes it worth it to me.”

“For us, it’s such a long year and we put in so much time and effort into [THON]. Then you have this almost ceremonial moment that is so important for what we do, and what we represent as an organization, it is such an honor to be a representative for this organization for the full forty-six hours. To know that we’re being the faces of something that is making a difference is a really special opportunity,” commented Chris Depman, another Ohana dancer.

Photo Credit: Madison Starr | The Underground