Red Cross Club Honored As Measles Initiative Advocate of the Month
Wednesday, December 23, 2019 — Normally not considered a good deed, one Red Cross club recently spread “measles” across its 322-acre university campus to show how prevalent the disease is in developing countries.
Sivmui Chia, pictured left, and other advocates with the California State University Long Beach Red Cross Club raise funds for the Measles Initiative.
“We have to get the message out there” explained Sivmui Chia, who serves on the executive board of the California State University Long Beach Red Cross Club. “As we live our daily lives, we take for granted many of the benefits we get for living in a country where vaccinations are easy to obtain.”
Measles is one of the leading killers of children in developing countries. It is estimated that more than 450 people, mostly children, die every day around the world from this disease.
During a planning meeting at the beginning of the academic year, Chia lobbied for the club to take on this cause. As part of the club’s first project – Measles Awareness Week – more than 40 club members generated buzz by walking around campus with red dots pinned to their clothes. People on campus could purchase a dot, thus helping to reduce “measles” on campus and protect a child halfway across the world.
“What attracted me to the Measles Initiative is how it costs less than $1 to vaccinate a child against measles (and) how easy it is that?” asked Chia, who has been volunteering for the American Red Cross since she was a sophomore in high school. “By just emptying your pocket, you can save a child.”
Many of the club members were so passionate about the initiative that they began selling dots at private events before the set date to begin on campus. With so much enthusiasm among club members, the event of wearing dots lasted for four days and an additional two days of information booths on campus.
The event raised enough funds to vaccinate 1,066 children overseas and warrant a Service Award from the Greater Long Beach Chapter. Each year the chapter selects one of its many Red Cross Clubs to recognize for the volunteers’ achievements in supporting the Red Cross mission.
“The Measles Initiative is important to us because it helps us see the problems in other countries and how (youth and young adults) can lend a helping hand,” said Priya Sodha, volunteer and youth specialist for the local chapter.
In 2001, five organizations – the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization – joined forces to form the Measles Initiative in an effort to reduce the number of deaths from this disease.
In addition to college students, the Measles Initiative is a popular cause among local youth clubs. Teens in the greater Long Beach area have been involved in selling Measles Initiative lapel pins and organizing other fundraising events for more than five years.
To start your own project or read more Advocate of the Month stories, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.
Launched in 2001, the Measles Initiative—led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization—provides technical and financial support to governments and communities for mass vaccination campaigns and disease surveillance around the world. The Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 700 million children helping to reduce measles deaths by 78% globally (compared to 2000). To learn more, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.