|UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy stands next to 8-year old student Susanne Goldberger|
NEW YORK, 25 January 2005 - Elementary school children in New York raised more than $40,000 for the children affected by the tsunami in Asia through a sponsored Read-a-Thon.
“My daughter Isabel was very upset to hear about how children lost their parents and were hurt,” said one parent, Susanne Turet. “She was very proud to be able to contribute.”
More than 1,300 Students ranging from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade in Brooklyn’s Public School 321 participated in the Read-a-Thon, which was held on 14 January. The funds will go to help UNICEF’s relief efforts in tsunami-hit areas.
At a special ceremony, the faculty and students of PS 321 presented a piggybank to UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy, who lives in the Park Slope neighborhood where PS 321 is located.
“This is my community,” said Ms. Bellamy. “I’m very proud of this community.”
Children got friends and families to sponsor them to read books - the more chapters they read, the more they were able to raise.
The school’s principal, Liz Phillips, indicated that although there are many organizations they could have given to, they chose UNICEF because its motto “Kids Helping Kids” was a natural fit with their fundraising.
“It’s important to give our kids the message that part of being responsible, respectful citizens of the world is to reach out to others in times of need,” said Phillips. “We believe that it can be comforting to children to feel that they can do something to help.”
As a tangible symbol of the community effort, every child had the chance to write his or her name and a message of hope on a paper chain that now decorates the school lobby.