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UNICEF Trip Takes on DC

Jack Keane, Contributing Writer

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Ever since CRLS established a UNICEF Club in March 2015, it has been improving each year. UNICEF is a nonprofit organization committed to providing emergency support through food and healthcare to families in war-torn countries. At CRLS, the club focuses on raising money for UNICEF in various ways such as bake sales and other fundraisers. The money that is raised is used to support the organization, as well as send members of the club on an annual trip to Washington, DC for the UNICEF Summit. There, club members learn the importance of UNICEF, as well as how to improve their own schools’ clubs.

This year’s UNICEF Summit, which took place March 16th through 19th, was another success for CRLS. Advocates arrived in DC ready to share the club’s strengths and weaknesses, preparing to take back information they could use to improve the club’s dynamic and continue to promote it, and forming ideas such as a water walk and chalk walk.

Upon their arrival in DC, the group—which consisted of Mohammed Shafim ‘19, Majdee Abu-Rubieh ’19, Ella Simons ’21, Jack Keane ’21, and club advisors Maryellen Collis and Ibrahim Dagher—went to the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, where they participated in a variety of UNICEF-related activities ranging from Jeopardy to attempting to create a water filtration system. Through these activities, they learned facts and general information about the struggles endured by millions of children and families around the globe.

The group continued to learn about these issues the following day, when they split up and attended a variety of classes where they learned about topics from how to promote the UNICEF Club at CRLS to how children have been uprooted in countries all around the world. Now that club members have returned, they plan to use the methods learned in order to improve CRLS’ UNICEF Club.

On the third day of the trip, CRLS’ advocates listened to a variety of UNICEF donors and workers who told heartbreaking but inspiring stories. People who had witnessed the effects of a war-torn country spoke, inspiring the audience and creating an even greater feeling of need to make a change. Ella Simons ’21, a dedicated member of the UNICEF Club, stated that “it was a great experience.” She elaborated, saying, “Everyone there was really inspiring. I now know that I want to do service work [going forward].”

On the final day of the Summit, known as Advocacy Day, CRLS’ UNICEF Club members met with representatives of Congress on Capitol Hill in order to demonstrate why children should be made a foreign policy priority. In addition, CRLS advocates requested $132.5 million from the United States government (which is equivalent to the amount donated last year) in support of UNICEF, an appeal that was granted. Mohammed Shafim ’19, co-president of the UNICEF Club at CRLS, said, “It was really awesome to see that the representatives that the country has are actually way more accessible [and willing to listen to us when we] speak our thoughts than we think.” He added, “it was great to see that people were willing to take time out of their day to talk to us … It was just surreal that I could have a casual conversation with someone in a representative’s office.”

The CRLS UNICEF Club’s advocates felt positive about this year’s Summit and believe they learned a lot of information that they can now share with the school’s club and the rest of the community. The words of speakers at the Summit made an impact on the club members’ minds and gave them a further desire to put children first.

 

This piece also appears in our April 2019 print edition.

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UNICEF Trip Takes on DC