Key Club Raises Funds for Kiwanis, UNICEF Eliminate Project

Dimond High School’s Key Club recently participated in the Eliminate Project, put on by Kiwanis International and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund.

Kiwanis is Key Club’s parent organization.

This is the fifth year Dimond has been involved with the “Trick or Treat for UNICEF” campaign.

Kiwanis and UNICEF have worked together in the past to combat iodine deficiency disorders globally which, according to the World Health Organization, have been cut in half in the past decade.

This year they are targeting maternal and neonatal tetanus, commonly known as MNT.

Kiwanis said, “Approximately 134 newborns—one every 11 minutes—die every day from neonatal tetanus.”

This means nearly 49,000 babies die from MNT every year.  In order to significantly decrease this number 100 million mothers and future babies must be immunized, according to the Kiwanis Eliminate Project overview.

Mary Beth Hammerstrom, a Social Studies teacher and the Key Club Faculty Sponsor at Dimond, said, “Every $2 raised here at Dimond has meant that someone gets a full round of the tetanus vaccine — enough to provide a lifetime immunity.”

This year Mischell Anderson, also a social studies teacher at Dimond, raised $561.12 between her five classes.

This means her classes collectively saved nearly 280 mothers and children.

Senior Bryce Davis said, “It’s cool to be a part of a movement to help people and know how many people your donation is affecting and where your money is going.”

The straightforward nature of the Eliminate Project makes it more understandable for people unaffected by MNT.

Hammerstrom said, “We have so much that we forget that others have so little.  A project like the Eliminate Project helps put things in perspective.  Often people will tell you that one person can’t make a difference and that the world’s problems are so great that you can’t possibly make a dent in them.  Eliminate makes a difference one person at a time at a measurable and individually affordable level.”

Senior Morgan Byrne said, “It’s beneficial to our students because it exposes them to the problems in the world and gives them a chance to change it.”

In total, Kiwanis has raised $102 million with a goal of $110 million.

Only 21 countries around the globe are still impacted by MNT, and this number comes closer to reduction with every donation.

Hammerstrom said, “The money we sent last year was part of a much larger effort that led to removing India, Mauritania and Cambodia from the list of nations with active MNT cases.  We’ve made a small but very tangible difference in the lives of others.”

Sophomore Jacob Fisher said, “Even from Alaska we are able to impact what’s going on in the world and be informed through this project.”

This was DHS Key Club’s last year partnering with Kiwanis and UNICEF for the Eliminate Project, according to Hammerstrom.

Of future humanitarian efforts she said, “We will continue to raise funds for UNICEF to be used wherever those funds are most needed.  It’s a charity we feel confident in supporting and we know that the money we raise will be well and wisely spent.”