Mandie Poe

Early childhood education major from Marysville, Ohio

Mandie Poe, a sophomore from Marysville, Ohio, is embracing one of the four enduring values that Bluffton embodies—service.

While Mandie was a student at Marysville High School, her grandmother, a cancer victim, passed away. Shortly thereafter, a friend invited Mandie to attend a meeting for an organization called Nellie's Catwalk for Kids (NC4K).

NC4K is an organization that financially and emotionally helps support families whose children have been diagnosed with pediatric cancer. The organization was founded in 2007 by then-16-year-old Nellie Krumlauf after her grandmother died. Krumlauf knew that she wanted to do something to make a difference and, after doing some research, she found that pediatric cancer was the least funded of all cancer types. She intended for her fashion-show fundraiser for pediatric cancer to be a one-time thing. But today, NC4K is recognized as a national organization and has helped hundreds of families.

After attending the meeting with her friend, Mandie decided to join the cause. She became secretary of her school's NC4K chapter and eventually worked her way up to co-president. Now, she is ready to start her own chapter of NC4K here at Bluffton.

Earlier this year, Mandie teamed up with themed housing to sell T-shirts and armbands that supported NC4K. Together, they were able to raise more than $1,000. After receiving the donation, Krumlauf contacted Mandie to express her gratitude. She also asked the Bluffton cheerleader to be a college branch manager for the organization.

Along with Ryan Erwin, a sophomore from Raymond, Ohio, Mandie has taken the project head-on. With the acceptance of Krumlauf's offer, they are responsible for conducting four awareness events and two big fundraisers annually. Mandie has been brainstorming fundraising ideas such as a powder-puff football game and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. She is open to other ideas and says she would love as much involvement from students, faculty and staff as possible.

"Nellie's Catwalk for Kids is a really great organization," Mandie says. "It's a really good cause. Pediatric cancer is the least funded cancer, and this really helps bring awareness as well as monetary donations."