An American Airlines Flight Attendant Attends the UNICEF Ball in Los Angeles

January 29, 2014

Julie Burke, a Chicago-based American Airlines Flight Attendant and “Champion for Children” volunteer, collects currency donations on international flights from American Airlines customers to support UNICEF’s Change for Good program. Julie attended the UNICEF Ball in Los Angeles on Jan. 14 with Los Angeles-based Champion for Children Anita Vaccaro.

Julie Burke, left, and Anita Vaccaro, right, at the UNICEF Ball in Los Angeles. Julie Burke, left, and Anita Vaccaro, right, at the UNICEF Ball in Los Angeles.

Change for Good is a global UNICEF program that uses travelers’ donations of unused currency to provide lifesaving services for children around the world.

Well folks, Anita and I are back from the UNICEF Ball held at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles on Jan. 14 and couldn't be more excited to have attended this gala! It was a magical, star-studded night -- Kristin Chenoweth, Matt Damon, Michel Douglas and so many other stars showed up in support of UNICEF!

But this isn't what I’ll take home with me. What I'll remember and cherish is the gratitude -- yes, gratitude -- the U.S. Fund for UNICEF staff and others feel toward what we Champions for Children volunteers do on board our flights -- our Change For Good collections. They honestly value and admire our commitment to Zero. We may not think our walks down the aisle with the UNICEF "blue bag” collection pouches add up to much, but each and every collection does so much good. Donations from American Airlines customers on a half-full aircraft can provide food, water, medicine and educational materials for dozens of children!

That's the best part about being a Champion -- we are part of this massive effort, but know that no matter how small our part is, as a group, we are a force for change.

The UNICEF Ball renewed my belief that we really DO make a difference by collecting Change for Good! Each day American Airlines has dozens of flights with scores of donors, people happy to rid themselves of the weight of unneeded change. Last year we collected more than $1 million -- easily doubled or tripled if each of us gets just one more flight attendant to collect on his or her flights! We have proven that the flight attendants of American Airlines can do anything: we serve, we perform CPR and Heimlich, we respond to any type of inflight emergency, from helping deliver babies to evacuating people when needed...and we CAN be an even greater force to help UNICEF save more children than anyone can imagine. Let us continue to Believe in Zero and work to achieve that number!

To get involved and learn more about the program and how you can participate, visit