"Everybody can be great. Because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Volunteering not only makes the world a better place, it is what distinguishes us as human beings. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is deeply grateful to its over 45,000 volunteers who are helping us save children's lives every day.
This week - National Volunteer Week - is the perfect time to join them on the UNICEF Action Center. The Action Center is the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's central hub for all things volunteer. Here you can join campaigns like the UNICEF Tap Project, Live Below the Line, End Trafficking, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF, and Team UNICEF. You can also find - or start - your local High School or Campus clubs. The Action Center is the place to connect with U.S. Fund volunteers, find fundraising events near you, advocate for children, and so much more. It's a unique community for all those who are committed to taking action to make the world a better place for children.
We would like to celebrate all our volunteers by introducing you to the eight U.S. Fund for UNICEF volunteers who this year have received the President's Volunteer Service Award, one of the nation's most distinguished service awards. They are an inspiration to us all.
Misha Ahmad established UNICEF High School Clubs at Rockford IQRA School and the Auburn High School in Illinois. "Everyone has a story. Everyone has a path that he or she is heading towards; some are on good paths and others are on bad paths. Volunteering for UNICEF is looking at the story of a child and positively changing the direction of his or her path in hopes of giving the story a happy ending."
Genevieve Boutin is currently the Chief of Humanitarian Policy in UNICEF - Office of Emergency Programs. "Running for UNICEF in the New York City Marathon is the most rewarding way to marry my passion for running with my desire to do all I can to help improve the situation for children around the world."
Alfredo Escalera was drafted by the Kansas City Royals after graduating from high school in 2012, the youngest player drafted by a major league organization since the insertion of the First-Year Player Draft. "I have the selfish belief that by helping someone in peril to better his life, I am actually helping myself to be more joyful. For me, voluntary work is a shortcut to being blessed with amazing happiness"
Ruben Garcia graduated from the University of North Texas in 2011. He joined Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity in 2008 and has served the organization in various capacities. "As the Director of Philanthropy for the Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, I can focus my efforts on what I feel are some of the most effective means of change - outreach and education."
Erin Guffey is an environmental attorney, with a passion for service and non-profit fundraising. "I volunteer for UNICEF because I believe genuine progress can be made for human rights, quality of life, and sustainability, and I want to play an integral role in making those changes."
Ariana Hoet is currently obtaining her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. "There are so many children in the world that need our help. I am very thankful to be given the opportunity to add my little bit of support towards achieving ZERO with an organization like UNICEF, which truly makes an impact worldwide."
Lenore Tetkowski, a former teacher, has been a promoter of UNICEF on Grand Island since the 1950s. "Coordinating the UNICEF Trick-or-Treat event year after year has reached thousands of Grand Island youngsters. It is gratifying to know that they have experienced the importance of volunteering to help other less fortunate children."
Soraiya Thura is a junior at Virginia Commonwealth University, and is a pre-medicine student majoring in Economics. "For me, service to others is important in a dynamic world where children's needs are amplified. We should use our skills and cooperation to make ZERO preventable child deaths possible."