125 Maiden Lane, Lower Manhattan, that was the address of headquarters for UNICEF’s United States Fund. As I ducked into the building from the pouring rain outside, someone in the reception area smiled at me and said, “You must be with UNICEF, everyone looks so good all dressed up, there must be a big event tonight”.
And yes, a big event it was! But first, up to the 11th floor to meet the two staff members who manage UNICEF’s Change for Good program on American Airlines at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Also present would be Wendy Parnell, my colleague and fellow flight attendant “Champion for Children” volunteer at American Airlines. Wendy and I would be representing the Champions for Children community at the annual UNICEF Snowflake Ball that evening, a fundraising gala organized by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. We are both volunteers for the Change for Good program which collects left over change or currency from passengers on select international flights and donates the money to support UNICEF programs for children all around the world.
Krista and Katia gave us a tour of the headquarters and introduced us to their staff of dedicated people. Everyone there was warm and welcoming and they made us feel very appreciated. I realized then how meaningful the Change for Good program is to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and the significance of being a Champion for Children. We collected more than $1 million from generous American Airlines customers in the past year. What we do has a huge impact on saving children’s lives. The four of us then sat down and discussed ways to improve and expand the program. Little things like making PA’s in the language of the destination and recruiting more volunteers.
We then headed to the UNICEF Snowflake Ball, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF’s annual black tie fundraiser that started with a cocktail reception at the Museum of American Finance. The party then moved across the street to Cipriani where rows of umbrella-wielding waiters lined both sides of the restaurant’s entrance. This grand venue was once the home of the New York stock exchange and it’s Greek revival glamour was in full display.
Over 800 guests were served a three-course meal and entertainment included the Afro-Norwegian duo Nico and Vinz and Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter Jill Scott.
It was an amazing evening! The venue, the food, the service and the entertainment were all impeccable. But more remarkable were the individuals who attended the ball. I’ve never experienced an event where so many people were gathered together to support and appreciate one another for the sake of one goal – the survival and protection of children worldwide. It was truly inspirational. And I again realized the importance of our Change for Good program. Just as the Ball gave hundreds of generous people the opportunity to collectively raise more than $3.4 million for a great cause, our program goes even further by extending the range of giving to more and more. We give millions of people the opportunity to donate to our cause every day on our flights. And hopefully with the recruitment of new Champions for Children, there will be no limit to this giving opportunity.
To learn more about this program and how you can get involved, please visit www.unicefusa.org/changeforgood