By Paul Harvey
We are all, by nature, story tellers. In the age of internet and social media, global stories of tragedy and negativity are ever present on the constant newsfeed of our lives. It is easy to feel helpless, when learning about the suffering of others thousands of miles away. One narrative, that isn’t told enough, but that is bridging the space between feelings and actions, is the story of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
My personal story with UNICEF began as a child; when each Halloween I proudly participated in the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF program. I continued my passion for UNICEF throughout my life, but in 2004, I began to write a new chapter. I joined the Midwest Regional Office Board for the U.S .Fund for UNICEF and have since even served as the Board Chair. While I participate in local charities, the global spread of UNICEF’s work was what called me to be even more involved.
During this time, I came to discover that each day, 21,000 children die from preventable causes across our world. Although that number is frightening, the annual number of deaths has actually dropped significantly in the past 20 years. This reduction in childhood mortality can be attributed to many things – one of which being UNICEF, whose mission is to make that number zero. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with heath care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.
Many people think they cannot contribute to the solutions in faraway lands, but what most people perhaps don’t realize is there are so many ways to get involved, right here in our community. I have had the honor of working alongside the Midwest Regional Office of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF here in Chicago, and can honestly say the work they do is nothing short of amazing.
This year, the Midwest Regional Office will host the fifth annual Message of Hope Gala and After Party, an evening of dancing and dining, all benefitting UNICEF’s mission of “Believe in Zero” on April 28. Guests like you and I have the opportunity to contribute to UNICEF’s life-saving work and help our brothers and sisters around the world, without leaving our backyard.
If you, like me, have been inspired to “Believe in Zero,” please join us at the Union League Club of Chicago this Saturday. While we are thrilled that the gala is sold out, there are still tickets available for the Message of Hope Gala After-Party. If you are unable to attend, there are plenty of other ways to get involved. Visit www.unicefusa.org to find ways to donate throughout the year. There are events, donation opportunities and activities, such as my childhood favorite Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, in which Midwesterners can support UNICEF. I know that together, we can create a positive change in the story of the children of the world. And that is a story worth telling far into the future.