By Sheree Nixon
The BYU chapter of the United Nations Children”s Fund is touring local schools to educate students and teachers about how to improve health care for children.
The program is called “Trick or Treat for UNICEF.”
BYU UNICEF”s community outreach director, Heather Hoeke, 22, from Livingston, N.J., majoring in English, said Trick or for Treat UNICEF is a kids for kids program, allowing children to help others their age who are less fortunate.
At each school, BYU UNIEF teaches elementary students about needy children throughout the world and ways each student can help.
BYU UNICEF President Missy Ward, 20, from Murray, Salt Lake County, majoring in psychology, said the visits help raise awareness.
“As a BYU sponsored group we talk to kids,” Ward said. “We focus on the educational aspect. We act as the education branch for the community.”
Children who are participating in this program will go door-to-door on Halloween night and explain to candy givers that they are collecting donations to provide better care for children all over the world.
Money donated by candy givers will be stored in a little orange box provided by the children, which the classes will count and send to UNICEF headquarters. From there the money this year will go to eradicating Polio in ten countries where the disease still affects children.
BYU UNICEF is not the only group in Utah participating in Trick or Treat for UNICEF. The Salt Lake Volunteer Group, which includes many members of BYU UNICEF, is also involved.
Ward said Trick or Treat for UNICEF has raised $115 million since it was started in 1955 for the aide of underprivileged children throughout the world.
Hoeke said a majority of last year”s donations to the Salt Lake Volunteer Group were spent on school supplies for children in Afghanistan. Money also went towards purifying water in third world countries, sanitation, emergency relief, nutrition, health care and many other amenities.
“We hope that our efforts will teach people about the urgency of the issues,” Ward said.
“Like the fact that 30,000 kids die every day, largely from preventable diseases like diarrhea, measles and pneumonia.
“It”s amazing to see these kids change when they learn that up to 1/6 of the world doesn”t have access to clean water and that some schools don”t have books and paper and pencils.”