Tedd Froehlich is a LAX-based American Airlines Flight Attendant and "Champions for Children" volunteer. He collects currency donations on flights from American Airlines customers to support UNICEF's Change for Good program.
I had the honor of seeing first hand how UNICEF Haiti is using donations to offer huge amounts of hope to this beautiful, struggling country. The determination of the UNICEF staff on the ground to bring about forward moving change is only surpassed by the pride and determination of Haiti's amazing people themselves.
From the moment we arrived in Haiti, UNICEF was present and ready to share details of their work and amazing programs. We spent our first day being briefed on the overall situation in Haiti, and UNICEF's goals and challenges. What the UNICEF Team would teach us and show us in the next 4 days made me realize how much resources the country of Haiti needed but would indeed survive and develop in its own way in time.
Visiting Nutrition Centers and meeting mothers and babies doing everything possible to create strong bodies on the second day was inspirational. The women and children that filled the waiting room exhibited such pride through their clothing, which was the first example of how much hope people have. Clearly these mothers wanted what is best for their babies, no matter how difficult or how far they had to journey.
On day 3 we visited an elementary school where we saw excited children receiving accolades for another year completed. Again, the smiles of pride and determination were visible in the faces of the children, and the parents; doing what they can to make the best of their future.
That afternoon we sat and spoke to a few Haiti's adolescents. I must say this was the most difficult part for me. These bright young Haitians have so much to offer, but experience daily challenges in mving forward in their studies; and if they do, finding a job is an arduous affair at best. They worry about their communities struggling with poverty where children and teens have to make hard choices between easy money and pushing forward to a more dignified goal. They deserve a chance to use their strength, intelligence, and determination to help make Haiti into the country that they envision.
Overall, this experience was moving and inspiring, challenging as much as spiritual, and life altering that my attention is again directed back to the people in the world who deserve what care and assistance we can offer.
To learn more or get involved, please visit www.unicefusa.org/changeforgood.