Some of my fondest memories of a child growing up in the 70s was trick-or-treating on Halloween with my siblings. My brother, sister, and I would walk for hours around our suburban neighborhood knocking on doors for candy. We'd come home exhausted yet smiling with pillowcases filled to the rim with sugary treats. We would pour our goodies onto the floor and would eat one a day for months to come.
Imagine if the candy could be replaced with donations. Donations to the children served by UNICEF. Imagine the impact it would have on impoverished children around the world if only half of the candy was donations and we all participated.
For 62 years, UNICEF has been motivating children to become active global citizens by teaching them the fundamental value of helping others through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. This amazing program encourages children of all ages to help raise funds for their counterparts in developing countries by going door-to-door on Halloween night or participating in other creative fundraising actives.
UNICEF's Trick-or-Treat campaign has some impressive results:
More than $167 million has been raised, providing children in 190 countries and territories with much-needed health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.
One thing I love about this campaign is how it directly empowers children by teaching them the value and importance of giving back. Today's children are bombarded with messages and advertising pulling them into a capitalistic culture at a young age. What if we replaced these messages with the power of advocacy and helping those in need?
Check out this inspiring video on UNICEF's trick-or-treat program. Show it to your children:
"You have the power to change the world through Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. Use your imagination and voice to help kids who need it the most. At UNICEF we believe the number of kids dying from preventable causes should be ZERO. We believe all kids deserve to be safe and healthy have the chance to live, learn and grow. By Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF you are making a difference for millions of kids in need all over the world."
UNICEF has also put together an excellent series of videos documenting personal stories of children they have helped through their trick-or-treat campaign. I chose the one below about a young girl named Nirmala from Nepal as it struck a chord with me. Two years ago, I went to Nepal for a three-week trek in the Annapurna's where I witnessed firsthand the poverty some of these rural villagers face, especially the children. That trip changed me and my life forever pushing me to fulfill a life-long goal and dream of advocacy and volunteerism.
Around the world there are 150 million orphans. 650,000 orphans live in Nepal itself. Many children in Nepal who have lost their parents are forced to work and become caretakers of their younger siblings. 13-year-old Nirmala, an orphan is taking care of her two younger siblings. Nirmala works long days to help provide much needed food for her brother and sister. Hunger is a real problem in Nepal with half of all children suffering from malnutrition and affects the most vulnerable children like Nirmala and her siblings.
UNICEF is there in Nepal helping Nirmala and children like her realize their potential by providing special protection and diets and opportunities to attend school and get an education for a brighter future.
So what can you and your children do this Halloween to help out children like Nirmala? Join in UNICEF's Trick-or-Treat Campaign! It is easy! Just visit their website here and order your free trick-or-treat collection boxes and check out UNICEF's fun ideas to engage your family and friends in fundraising events. UNICEF is also hosting a design your own box and character contest.
What are your plans for Halloween? How do you encourage your children to give back? Share your ideas with me.