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Youth "Celebrate Differences" to Support the Measles Initiative
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Jamie Mazzurco
 
July 13, 2007

What do softball, India, babysitting, and eagle scouts have in common? They were all table themes at the Gaston County Chapter of the American Red Cross event called, "Celebrating our Differences." High school students were responsible for decorating tables with a theme of their choice and for selling seats for 15 dollars each with the proceeds going to support the Measles Initiative.

A boy in Guinea receives a free measles vaccine
A boy in Guinea receives a free measles vaccine.

In Benin, children wait in line to receive a measles vaccination
In Benin, children wait in line to receive a measles vaccination.

The inspiration came from Krishna Deva, president of the youth council of the Gaston County Chapter, located in Gastonia, North Carolina. Deva was responsible for organizing and planning the evening, as well as recruiting entertainment for the event.

The 15 dollar ticket included a spaghetti dinner, cooked by the group, complete with salad, bread and dessert. The youth served as waiters for their table throughout the evening. At the end of the presentations, a local band played several numbers for the attendees.

After the meal, each youth spoke about the theme of their table and shared information about measles and malaria. The event raised approximately $1,200 for the Measles Initiative.

The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally and is led by the American Red Cross, United Nations Foundation, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and World Health Organization. To date, the Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 372 million children, mostly in Africa, and has helped to reduce measles deaths by 60 percent globally (compared to 1999).

Students spent several days planning and decorating their tables. Some themes included a beach table, a birthday table, and a Red Cross table. One young girl from India decorated her table with tableware from her home country. Another favorite was the "chocolate table" complete with a chocolate fountain as the centerpiece. The table also featured fresh fruit and marshmallows for dipping at each seat.

The youth group from the Gaston County Chapter has been involved with the Measles Initiative for the past two years. This year, the chapter will also raise money and awareness to support American Red Cross malaria prevent efforts. The chapter plans on having at least one fundraiser per year to support each of these international health programs.

The Measles Initiative is a partnership committed to reducing measles deaths globally. 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 on vaccination campaigns in all regions of the world. To date, the Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 372 million children helping to reduce measles deaths by more than 60% globally (compared to 1999). To learn more or make a donation, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.


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