Individual American Airlines flight attendants who feel passionately about giving back to the children of the world through UNICEF started a group called Champions For Children. On international and transcontinental domestic flights, the AA Champions show an in-flight video on how money collected by AA’s Change for Good giving campaign and disbursed by UNICEF makes the difference between life and death for many children.

I recently returned from a trip to Honduras visiting several programs funded by UNICEF in collaboration with Change for Good. (UNICEF is a client of JS2 Communications, the public relations firm that I co-founded.) This trip was life-altering for me. As a business owner and a mother of two, I have been desperately trying to put the current economic downturn into perspective. It is easy to let the economy and overall national depression color and control my life. In Honduras, where 30 percent of the children are malnourished and many have no running water, I remembered how fortunate I am. It is up to people like me to advocate for children who deserve so much and receive so little.

I learned so much from Fabiola, Julia and Hector, our Honduran UNICEF leaders. We spent a great deal of time discussing the rights of children and how essential it is to engage and encourage them to be involved in their own destiny. The respect with which they approach each child made me understand how nuanced and deep UNICEF’s work truly is.

One program in particular that is funded by Change for Good, Arte Accion, knocked my socks off! Its founder, Douglas, is a former gang leader who leads this arts program where gang kids can find a safe place to blossom into artists. He plucks gang kids who have been “green lit,” or targeted for death from the gangs, out of harm’s way and gives them tools to express their lives. To me, this program is symbolic of all that UNICEF does. When I returned to Los Angeles, I talked well into the night with my son and daughter. I tried to explain how lucky they are and how much they take for granted. For the first time, I felt that they began to understand why UNICEF is so important and why I am so committed.

On the way back from Tegucigalpa I saw the Change for Good program in action. We raised $250 in less than 10 minutes on the flight from Tegucigalpa to Miami and another $160 from Miami to Boston. When I think of what that $410 can buy, I get so excited!

On my trip to Honduras I became empowered to make a “Change for Good,” and have fully committed my company’s resources to this incredible program. I feel that with this trip I have become a true UNICEF activist and cannot wait to do more. I hope to have the opportunity to go on another UNICEF trip in another part of the world sometime soon, but in the meantime this trip, which is so alive inside of me, will feed our work together moving forward.

Change for Good
Arte Accion

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