After earning a precious $6 from doing his chores all week, a 9-year-old in Saugus, Calif., knew exactly how he would spend it. Handing it over to his teacher the next day, his eyes sparkling with pride, he knew the sacrifice was going to be worth it. Joining the young boy are hundreds of other students from Rosedell Elementary School in Saugus who are contributing to the Measles Initiative – working tirelessly to raise money for children at risk of contracting measles.
Supporting the Measles Initiative, the school has taken on a year-long service project to promote awareness about the global problem and is raising funds to vaccinate children against the widespread disease. Although vaccine-preventable and virtually eliminated in the Western Hemisphere, measles kills nearly 454,000 people globally, and of those, 410,000 are children under the age of 5.
Students from Rosedell Elementary School have recycling plastic bottles, raising more than $1,000 to support the Measles Initiative.
(Photo Credit: American Red Cross)
The Measles Initiative, launched in 2001, is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally, with the goal of cutting measles deaths by 90 percent by 2010 compared to 2000. During its first five years (2001-2005), the Initiative supported the vaccination of more than 217 million children in Africa, saving 1.2 million lives. Leading this effort are the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), United Nation's Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Rosedell Elementary School chose to support the Measles Initiative because students could relate to the cause they were working for – helping other children their age battle the deadly disease. As part of their efforts, the K-6 grade students and their families have been working hard at recycling water bottles. Each week, more than 750 sixth-graders collect plastic bottles from their neighborhood and local communities and bring them to the school. The bottles are then taken to the local recycling center by Student Leadership Coordinators.
“It is definitely a time-consuming process, but is worth the effort,” says Becky Mastrobuono, Student Leadership Coordinator for the project. In just under three months, the students have succeeded in collecting $1,000 through recycling alone. At 69 cents a pound – that’s a lot of plastic.
A booth set-up at Rosedell’s annual winter music program enabled students to educate program guests about the measles effort while selling Measles Initiative lapel pins to raise money for the cause. View a close up of the poster on the left and the one on the right.
(Photos Credit: American Red Cross)
The 18-member student leadership team also has invited students to go out and earn at least a dollar for the initiative through a measles lapel-pin drive. The children already have sold 600 out of 800 pins and have earned more than $850 so far. A booth set-up at Rosedell’s annual winter music program allowed students to educate families of this important effort and fundraise using the remainder of the measles pins.
“Supporting the Measles Initiative through this project gives students an opportunity to get that good feeling in their hearts by helping others,” explains Mastrobuono. “My focus is for students to learn that service can make a real difference in the world.”
And, it has. These eager 12-year-olds take their commitment to the cause very seriously. As one sixth-grader put it, “it’s about saving lives.”
For more information about the Measles Initiative, including how to make a donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.
The Measles Initiative, launched in 2001, is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally, with the goal of cutting measles deaths by 90 percent by 2010 compared to 2000. During its first five years (2001-2005), the Initiative supported the vaccination of more than 217 million children in Africa, saving 1.2 million lives. Through these efforts, measles cases and deaths have dropped by 48 percent worldwide and by 60 percent in Africa, where measles deaths and disability are highest. Building on its success in Africa, the Initiative has expanded into Asia. The Initiative increasingly provides additional life-saving health interventions in its campaigns, including vitamin A, de-worming medicine and insecticide-treated nets for malaria prevention. The Measles Initiative has mobilized more than $308 million through 2006 to support campaigns in more than 43 countries in Africa and Asia. Leading these efforts are the American Red Cross, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, United Nations Foundation, UNICEF and World Health Organization. For more information or to make a donation, log on to www.measlesinitiative.org.