Julianne Hough
Ondrea Barbe
Julianne Hough says children are our future so it's imporant to help them.
NBC News
updated 10/29/2009 11:49:53 AM ET 2009-10-29T15:49:53

Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with dancer, country-music singer and actress Julianne Hough about her passion for helping children, including her support for The Children’s Miracle Network. The nonprofit organization raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals across the country. Donations help fund medical care, research and education.

Hough, a professional ballroom dancer, has sashayed her way into America’s homes as the two-time winner of "Dancing With The Stars."  She has also recently released her self-titled album and signed on to play Ariel in the remake of the 1984 film "Footloose."   

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about Children’s Miracle Network?

Julianne Hough: Well, it’s funny. In Utah, its very, very well known and I know Marie Osmond definitely contributed her time to it as well.  I didn’t really get involved until a little bit later. Basically, it’s a mission to generate funds for programs for sick kids and hospital research. It helps kids in communities and research to get better. I’ve done a couple of things with them. It’s pretty amazing the children that you meet. It’s pretty unbelievable.

Q: How did you get involved and what is your role?

JH: They do a fundraiser every year. I went down to Florida and I was a part of that. At first, I thought it was a great idea. Anything to do with children. They’re the future for us. Anything we can do to better them. I thought, “You know, I’ll do this little thing and be apart of it.” Once I was there, I got to meet the kids. I really took a better interest in that and thought, “You know, I want to do this for a long time. I don’t want this to be a one-off.” So, I started looking into it and it’s just amazing. It’s a nonprofit organization so any money that people donate just goes to research. I think it saves lives of 17 million kids a year. So it’s pretty unbelievable.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being involved?

JH: For me, I feel so blessed with everything I do in my life that I want to do something and be a part of something that gives children that hope, that maybe they can do and follow their dreams at some point. Of course, they have to get better; otherwise, it’s not going to be easy for them. To do something where I come in and I perform, it gives them hope and the encouragement so that they can keep going and have dreams and hopes. It’s really rewarding. Just being able to meet them.

I remember I did this show for [the kids] one time. There were a bunch of a kids just sitting on the ground and I said, “You know what, come on up here!” Everybody just came up on stage and we were all dancing together and singing along. It was just amazing. It’s all about the kids. It’s really rewarding just to be apart of their lives and hopefully they can look back at that and be like “Oh man, I remember that was so cool. That’s what I want to do when I’m older.” Anything I can do for their hopes and their dreams.

Q: Is there a particular story or moment that has resonated with you while working with Children’s Miracle Network?

JH: I think just when I did that show and having that experience with them all coming up on stage. It was just supposed to be a one-off thing. I thought, “Oh, it’s a really cool program, of course I’ll go and give my time to it.” And then I had that experience with the kids coming up on stage and having such an awesome time. Just kind of forgetting about everything that they were going through. Afterward I was just like, “This is something that I want to be apart of, not just for one time, but for a long time.”

Q: What can other people do to help? Is there a message you would like to get out there?

JH: Basically, it’s trying to be more aware. We’re trying to make it more aware for people around the country, around the world. If there is anybody that can donate money. Celebrities in general, just to kind of get the name out there. It really is going to help with research and donating money for kids to get better. More medical machines, and all that kind of thing. I just think anybody who can make it more aware for people, and do fundraisers, anything like that is just unbelievable.

Q: Anything else you’d like to add?

JH: It’s a great program and if you think about it, it’s all for the kids. They’re the hope the future for us and we need to get them better and give them a shot at their dreams too.

Interviewed by Kelly Rippin, NBC News

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