Group visits Brazil to see lifesaving programs in action
New York, NY (April 15, 2013) – After helping to raise nearly $1.2 million for UNICEF in 2012, four American Airlines flight attendants returned from a trip to Brazil to see UNICEF initiatives that focus on child survival, protection and development, in addition to engaging adolescents to create social change. The flight attendants participate in UNICEF’s Change for Good program, which engages American’s employees — known as Champions for Children — who volunteer to collect contributions of foreign and domestic currency from generous customers onboard selected international flights and at Admirals Club® and Flagship Lounges® worldwide. Funds collected support UNICEF’s programs for children in more than 150 countries around the world.
American Airlines flight attendants Ernest Max Mierbeth (Queens, NY), Martin Beltran (Carolina, Puerto Rico), Sean Nowicke (Boston, MA), and Alexandra Pedreros, (Bogotá, Colombia), traveled to Rio de Janeiro with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF from April 10-13 to see how the funds they collect through Change for Good are making an impact on children’s lives.
While in Brazil, the group met with youth in the Prazeres community, one of the favelas in Rio de Janeiro, who are using innovative digital technology to help them map local socio-economic risk factors such as floods, landslides, and poor infrastructure to help prevent and alleviate future risks. As part of its efforts to improve safety in these areas, UNICEF is actively engaging adolescents in finding solutions to address challenging issues, such as access to clean water and sanitation, along with emergency preparedness.
The employees also visited programs in Penha and Borel to learn about UNICEF’s early childhood development and protection programs focused on providing quality prenatal and health care to mothers and their newborns, as well as teaching safe delivery practices. While in Tijuca, the Champions presented local children with an art project that was handmade by seventh and eighth grade students from Grapevine Colleyville Independent School District in Dallas. The students created the artwork after learning about UNICEF’s Change for Good program.
“It was both humbling and inspiring to visit Rio de Janeiro and see how Change for Good donations have improved local children’s and families’ lives,” said Ernest Max Mierbeth, JFK International Airport-based flight attendant. “I am thrilled to see what an impact even the smallest of donations that my fellow Champions for Children and I collect on flights can have through UNICEF’s work.”
American Airlines has been the participating U.S. airline in UNICEF’s global Change for Good program since 1994. It is American’s largest — and one of its longest running charitable programs. The volunteer-based initiative, which is made up of dedicated flight attendants and Admirals Club staff, empowers American Airlines employees to help make a difference for children while performing everyday work duties. Airline Ambassadors International, proud supporter from 2006-2012, has played an instrumental role in the recruitment of the more than 2,700 Champions for Children who collect donations to support UNICEF’s programs worldwide.
“American Airlines has offered invaluable support for UNICEF’s work over the last 18 years, raising funds for key program areas including emergency response, education, child protection, and water and sanitation,” said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “We are so grateful for the dedication shown by American’s employees who continue to volunteer their time to collect donations to support UNICEF, and the generosity of American Airlines customers whose spare change helps us get one step closer to reaching a day when ZERO children die from preventable causes.”
In addition to programs in Brazil, Change for Good donations are supporting UNICEF’s HIV/AIDS programs and aiding children and families affected by the devastating food crisis in the Sahel region of Africa. Funds will also help provide clean water and sanitation to communities in southern Colombia. For more information please visit www.unicefusa.org/changeforgood.
American Airlines focuses on providing an exceptional travel experience across the globe, serving more than 260 airports in more than 50 countries and territories. American’s fleet of nearly 900 aircraft fly more than 3,500 daily flights worldwide from hubs in Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami and New York. American flies to nearly 100 international locations including important markets such as London, Madrid, Sao Paulo and Tokyo. With more than 500 new planes scheduled to join the fleet, including continued deliveries of the Boeing 737 family of aircraft and new additions such as the Boeing 777-300ER and the Airbus A320 family of aircraft, American is building toward the youngest and most modern fleet among major U.S. carriers. American's website, AA.com®, provides customers with easy access to check and book fares, and personalized news, information and travel offers. American's AAdvantage® program, one of the most popular frequent flyer programs in the world, lets members redeem miles for flights to almost 950 destinations worldwide, as well as flight upgrades, vacation packages, car rentals, hotel stays and other retail products. The airline also offers nearly 40 Admirals Club® locations worldwide providing comfort, convenience, and an environment with a full range of services making it easy for customers to stay productive without interruption. American is a founding member of the oneworld® alliance, which brings together some of the best and biggest airlines in the world, including global brands like British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Iberia Airlines, Japan Airlines, LAN and Qantas. Together, its members serve more than 840 destinations served by some 9,000 daily flights to nearly 160 countries and territories. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir or Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines. American Airlines, Inc. and American Eagle Airlines, Inc. are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation. AMR Corporation common stock trades under the symbol “AAMRQ” on the OTCQB marketplace, operated by OTC Markets Group.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works in 190 countries and territories to save and improve children’s lives, providing health care and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States. Together, we are working toward the day when ZERO children die from preventable causes and every child has a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.