Newly restarted UNICEF hopes to raise awareness

January 28, 2019 — by Manasi Garg

Every other Wednesday, the newly restarted UNICEF club meets in English teacher Susanna Ryan’s Room 003. Members crowd around tables and unpack their lunches, waiting for the presentation to start.

At the beginning of every meeting, one of the club’s officers — president sophomore Aileen Liao, vice president sophomore Danielle Moon, secretary sophomore Kaushik Jasti, treasurer sophomore Katie Chen and VP of Programs sophomore Anthony Qin — or one of the club members gives a presentation on current events or issues affecting children worldwide such as malnutrition, water sanitation or health care. Then, the club discusses what they specifically can do to help combat such issues.

“I thought that the club would be meaningful, especially because as students, it’s a good connection to have in this community,” Liao said. “Since our community is very privileged, it’s harder to see different points of view and ways of living.”

Through UNICEF, Liao hopes to spread awareness in the school about and fundraise for issues children face in underprivileged and underserved communities.

Last semester, UNICEF hosted two fundraisers. In October, the club went “trick-or-treating,” going from door to door to ask the neighborhood to support the UNICEF organization by giving any extra change they could spare and to spread awareness about UNICEF does and ongoing issues. Liao said they chose trick-or-treating as a method of fundraising to show that “you can raise money while still having fun and hanging out with friends.”

Chen said that overall, the experience was good and allowed club members to bond. Organizing the effort was low cost, but high reward, as the UNICEF organization sent them posters, trick-or-treat boxes and other supplies necessary.

UNICEF also held a holiday sale last semester on Dec. 6 as a way to increase their budget. The club received discontinued products such as iPad and iPhone cases from Amazon sellers and sold them for a discount to Saratoga High students.

UNICEF has begun planning for this semester as well. Sophomore Philbert Fan, a member of the club, voiced his own hopes for the club’s projects this semester.

“We’ve done some fundraisers already, so this semester I hope we can focus more on community service,” he said.

This semester, the club plans to go to a local pediatric hospital in early March and put on a talent show or performance, where people can showcase their musical abilities, dancing, art and more. According to Qin, the event coordinator, they are still working to make these events reality.

In addition to the talent show, UNICEF has tentative plans to host fundraisers with the LEO club, which is also a newly founded community service club.

“We have overlapping areas of interests, since we both care for emergency relief,”  Liao said. “[The club] asked if we wanted to partner up and just be stronger together and I was glad to help.”

Although it is only the beginning of the semester, UNICEF is already planning far ahead into the future. They hope to expand their membership and impact on the community around them, but their most important goal is still to continue raising awareness and encourage donations.

“I hope we help the students at Saratoga High realize how privileged most of us are in that many people here don’t have to worry about food or shelter,” Chen said. “We just want to create awareness about the struggles of children around the world.”