Last fall, a new student organization joined the University of Akron called UA UNICEF Campus Initiative. UNICEF stands for the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund. Worldwide, this organization works with people to raise funds and volunteer to help children in need. Maddie Cuckow, one of the founding members of the University of Akron’s UNICEF chapter, speaks about the founding of the organization, its goals, and why UNICEF matters.
Cuckow, along with some other students who were also passionate about helping children, decided to start the UNICEF group, and states that the organization had much success at other Ohio universities. Then they began to recruit other students, table in the Student Union, and fundraise. The University of Akron’s chapter donates to the United States fund. With these funds, they can help children receive basic and educational needs, and in some cases, even rescue children from human trafficking or other harmful circumstances.
The organization began holding events last semester. Their first was a fundraiser, and all the funds raised were used to help liberate children from sex trade.
They raised fifty dollars, which as Cuckow states, “It takes [nearly] five dollars to get a child out of sex trafficking.”
With another fundraiser, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, they were able to raise money to provide vaccinations, children’s toys, and other beneficial items. In mid-March, the group held their first major event, UNICEF Water Olympics.
“We aimed to raise 20,000 gallons of clean water for children around the world, and through the event, were able to raise 1,700 gallons of clean water…,” she says.
She says the process of starting a new student organization is difficult. However, UA UNICEF was lucky enough to be able to use a prior UNICEF chapter’s constitution. Cuckow says with new organizations, students must draft a constitution, apply for funding through the Undergraduate Student Government, find four members to become officers, and then receive 10 signatures of other students who are interested in becoming members.
She, like other members, became a part of the group because she is passionate about playing a beneficial role in the lives of children.
She says, “There is potential in every child, no matter where they come from, no matter who they are, and I believe every child deserves the right to an education, deserves the right to the best quality of life possible… If I can be instrumental in a small way in helping a child reach their fullest potential, then that is the biggest joy that I can have.”
To get involved or learn more about the group, check out them out on Facebook at UA UNICEF Campus Initiative, or follow them on Twitter at UAkronUNICEF.