As UNICEF club officers open up bags with candies of various shapes and sizes, students eagerly gather around the table to choose candies, goody bags, twines, cards and pens. Across the room, they sit at tables, talking amongst each other as they write valentine cards. This event one of many being hosted by Jefferson’s UNICEF chapter, which seeks to aid local hospitals and shelters through various activities.
“Our mission is to help children who have less fortunate circumstances within our community and globally,” UNICEF Secretary Tanya Kurnatoola said.
Throughout the year, Jefferson’s UNICEF chapter hosts a wide range of service projects to help those in need – locally, nationally, and internationally.
“A lot of the service projects we tend to concern the needs of our own community but occasionally we do try to reach out nationally and internationally,” Kurnatoola said.” Last year, when Hurricane Irma struck, we had a school wide drive and we were able to donate supplies to the regions that were hardest hit.”
During the rest of the year, regular meetings are hosted every Friday B-Block to not only do service activities, but to also educate members about the importance of community service and benefiting the community in a positive way.
“We do sandwich making, which we did last Friday, so that’s a recurring event that we do,” Kurnatoola said. “Other than service activities, we educate our members on how he/she can be an impactful member of society and how he/she can help other children, locally and nationally.”
Every month, UNICEF declares a theme, and the Jefferson UNICEF chapter bases their service activities around the theme.
“Every month, UNICEF has a theme, so sometimes it’s child labor, or focusing on improving economy. Each month, we generally have one meeting for the purposes of education, and then go into our service activities. We try to target some of our service activities towards the month’s theme. This month’s theme is Humanitarian Action in Emergencies,” Kurnatoola said.
While service activities help the community, they help the members as well. At the event, many students felt that they did not only get to help the community, but that it also allowed them to give back to the community, leading many to decide to continue doing similar events in the future.
“I look forward to doing activities every time after this. I just like the idea of helping people out there, it makes me feel good on the inside to know that just by helping out during my free period, I can help someone outside, and that it doesn’t have to be something big,” freshman Shantha Pirapakaran said.