UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez in Chile

February 2, 2011

On Monday, Selena traveled to the coastal city of Valparaiso with UNICEF. There, she met with some of Chile's poorest women. No doubt they were once full of hope as children. As they matured, poverty brought indignities that would challenge the strongest among us. With soft, tremoring voices, they told Selena how much it mean that she had traveled such distance to meet them. They thanked UNICEF for helping them find their way out of poverty so they can provide for their children.

On Monday, Selena traveled to the coastal city of Valparaiso with UNICEF. There, she met with some of Chile's poorest women. No doubt they were once full of hope as children. As they matured, poverty brought indignities that would challenge the strongest among us. With soft, tremoring voices, they told Selena how much it mean that she had traveled such distance to meet them. They thanked UNICEF for helping them find their way out of poverty so they can provide for their children.

Lisa Szarkowski is the head of public relations at the U.S. Fund. She accompanied UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez on her trip to Chile this week.

Hope: to cherish a desire of good, or of something welcome, with expectation of obtaining it or belief that it is obtainable.

Selena fans hotel.jpg
U.S. Fund for UNICEF/ 2011/Szarkowski
Selena's fans outside her hotel in Valpariso, Chile, where she is performing in concert.

Tonight UNICEF Ambassador Selena Gomez will perform at a sold-out concert here in Chile. Right now there are hundreds of young people surrounding her hotel, chanting "Se-len-a" so loudly it can no doubt be heard within a 10 block radius.

Singing her songs, they hold signs and pass me handwritten letters intended for her. More kids are camped outside of the nearby UNICEF office, hoping for a sighting of their own.

There is such joy to be felt here amidst the screaming and cheering - an energy and enthusiasm that is unique to young people. Adults often view the world through the weathered lenses of pragmatism. The kids outside believe anything is possible. They are feeling a kind of excitement that belongs only to the young - it is not clouded by practicality, fear, failures or rejections. It is wide open and unashamed - a feeling that anything could happen, and good things are coming.

Selena Gomez with Chilean Family.jpg
U.S. Fund for UNICEF/ 2011/Szarkowski
Selena Gomez with a family at a UNICEF-supported center in Valparaiso, Chile.

On Monday, Selena traveled to the coastal city of Valparaiso with UNICEF. There, she met with some of Chile's poorest women. No doubt they were once full of hope as children. As they matured, poverty brought indignities that would challenge the strongest among us. With soft, tremoring voices, they told Selena how much it mean that she had traveled such distance to meet them. They thanked UNICEF for helping them find their way out of poverty so they can provide for their children.

The message Selena delivered to the women was clear: "You and your children are as worthy and important as anyone else in this world - I believe in you, and so does UNICEF."

Hope sustains us when we face difficult realities, at UNICEF, we witness the indefatigable hope of young people every day. Our aim is to allow that hope to grow in every child, so they are able to live their dreams and transform our world into a safer, healthier, more peaceful reality for all.

Thank you to Selena, to UNICEF, and the children of Chile for recognizing the hope in each other, and all of us.