Friday, February 15, 2008

Plant a Seed, Reap a Harvest : A TRUE STORY

Four years ago, while her high school friends were racing off to sports practice, Amita Kulkarni was working with the youth council of her local Red Cross chapter in Morristown, New Jersey, to raise money for the Measles Initiative.

During her time helping the youth council, she raised about $17,000 through bake sales, paper doll projects, and other events. These funds went to support the Measles Initiative—a partnership led by the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and the World Health Organization that has helped vaccinate more than 400 million children since 2001, contributing to a 68 percent reduction in measles deaths worldwide.

When she headed to Dartmouth College last year, Amita took her interest in the Measles Initiative with her. After completing her freshman year, she was chosen for an internship at Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD), a medical technologies company that sponsors the work of the Measles Initiative. Her job was to strengthen the partnership between BD and the American Red Cross.

Amita recruited 10 to 12 teenage children of BD employees and set up projects in the community to promote awareness of, and funding for, the Measles Initiative. The group raised more than $5,000 through these projects, and two members of the group have already started measles programs of their own.

"My personal goal was to plant a seed so these kids would go on to start a Red Cross club in their school, or start a fundraiser in the future for the Measles Initiative," Amita says.

Now in her second year at Dartmouth, Amita is focusing on Asian and Middle East studies with an emphasis on India, where her parents grew up. She plans to attend medical school eventually and one day work overseas for a non-governmental organization.

When asked for her advice for other young people who want to try their hand at fundraising for the Measles Initiative, she says, "Be willing to think outside the box if you can but don't over think it; bake sales and car washes work just as well. Most importantly, have fun."

The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally. Launched in 2001, the Measles Initiative—led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization—provides technical and financial support to governments and communities on vaccination campaigns in all regions of the world. To date, the Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 372 million children helping to reduce measles deaths by more than 60% globally (compared to 1999). To learn more or make a donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.

Source: http://www.redcross.org/article/0,1072,0_312_7461,00.html


Forget yourself for others, and others will never forget you.

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