UNICEF Club Preview 2019-2020


By Eiman Navaid, Staff Writer

Students with a passion to raise awareness for ongoing issues around the world and make a difference can find their place in UNICEF club, which is based on the worldwide organization that aims to put children first in regards to food, shelter, education and medical emergencies. The club, sponsored by fine arts teacher and Niles North dance company director Deanna Sortino, allows students to engage in fundraisers for emergency relief, along with raising awareness for ongoing issues around the world, such as human trafficking, water scarcity, and child malnutrition.

According to Sortino, UNICEF club is all about children, advocacy, and education. “It’s a great club because you can actually feel like you’re giving back.”

Sortino stated that UNICEF club is also a way to educate oneself on issues going on around the world that they may not even be aware of. That way, students can get in touch with their policymakers and make a difference. “If making a difference in the world is something that is important to you, then this is a great club,” Sortino said.

This year, UNICEF club plans to do a water walk for World Water Week to emulate what it is like for people worldwide who have to walk miles to get clean water every day. “In the past, it has been something new that UNICEF had been doing, and now there are videos and lessons plans to go with it,” Sortino stated.

UNICEF is a club that students will be able to carry with them throughout their entire lives. Many colleges have their own UNICEF clubs, and there are even young professionals UNICEF clubs for after students graduate college. “We actually have had a lot of students come back, and they have become ambassadors at their colleges because they have had their experience at Niles West UNICEF. It’s something you can be involved with throughout your entire life, and it can start in high school,” Sortino stated.

UNICEF Club co-president Ines Rahmani believes that joining UNICEF club opened her eyes to the ongoing problems around the world, especially those that are not covered in the day-to-day media. “I would say that I am now a more aware and conscious citizen and I know more about the world that I am living in.”

Rahmani states that her favorite part about UNICEF club is how it is able to educate others and also raise awareness for ongoing issues. “I feel like that’s our duty, as students here at West, but also in the future, as we grow up,” Rahmani said.

In Rahmani’s words, the members of UNICEF club work together for one cause, one goal, which is to make the world a better place and to educate others about ongoing issues in other countries, specifically to children around the world that are not as fortunate as themselves.

Senior Noah Velasco believes that UNICEF club gave him an opportunity to make a difference.

“I was made aware of a multitude of world problems that I had the opportunity to fix. I learned about how some companies exploit their employees which made me more aware of my consumer habits,” Velasco stated.

Although UNICEF club deals with highly pressing and dangerous matters, such as women and children’s malnutrition and poverty, the members of the club, according to Velasco, always remain positive.

“The group keeps an upbeat attitude. We don’t let the horrors of the world get to us.”

Although making a difference can be difficult and pressuring, Velasco knows that every effort makes a difference, whether that is using a plastic water bottle to raise money or calling your local Congresspeople to encourage them to pass laws that would aid those in need.

“Nothing beats the feeling of helping others, to know that what you’re doing is making an actual difference in someone’s life,” Velasco said. “UNICEF is a great way to chase this feeling and to make a difference. UNICEF’s foundation, I think, is that love is endless, so it would be a shame to keep it all to ourselves. You could help us spread it. There’s plenty to go around.”

UNICEF club meets every other Thursday at 7:30 a.m in the Student Commons.