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Auburn’s UNICEF club raises $6,600

Fatima Nizamuddin was lying in a hospital bed in Pakistan five years ago, sick with malaria. Her trip to visit family turned into a medical ordeal, filled with constant blood tests and medications on the hour.  But it was a scream from down the hall in the hospital that gave Fatima the perspective she would carry with her the rest of her life.

The scream was from a grieving mother, who realized she would lose her child because her family could not afford the medical care to save his life. Suddenly, Fatima’s illness seemed insignificant. She would surely recover, and her family could afford treatment.

Auburn UNICEF club board members are ( from left): Aymun Khalid (secretary), Fatima Nizamuddin (president), Elena Wilson (vice president) and Julian Giakas (treasurer).

Auburn UNICEF club board members are ( from left): Aymun Khalid (secretary), Fatima Nizamuddin (president), Elena Wilson (vice president) and Julian Giakas (treasurer).

Today, Fatima is a senior at Auburn High School and the president of the school’s UNICEF club. The club held its annual fundraiser Feb. 27 at the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center. The fourth annual event set records for fundraising and attendance. With 222 tickets sold – and proceeds from silent auction baskets — the club raised more than $6,600. The money will go directly to UNICEF’s disease prevention efforts. The club will donate UNICEF’s Super Hero packs, which include anti-malaria mosquito nets and vaccinations for polio, measles and malaria.

And so it comes full circle for Fatima.

The student in Auburn’s Renaissance Academy of the Rockford Public Schools is not interested in taking credit for the club’s success. She says her fellow club members gave up their school lunch time, approached business owners about silent auction items and went “absolutely above and beyond” in selling tickets. “That’s how we were able to even think about launching this event,” Fatima said.

Club members learned about the charm of social media marketing techniques. They changed their profile pictures on Facebook to the club’s flyer for the dinner. They shared pictures of Auburn musicians practicing at the rehearsal. That created buzz about the event among friends.

Marshaun Montgomery, a Chicago-based Global Citizenship Fellow for Community Engagement at UNICEF, was the featured speaker. Montgomery told Fatima he was anxious about attending an event planned by a high school club. At the end of the night, however, he said he had been to college fundraisers and had not seen anything near the caliber of the Auburn event.

Fatima was proud of her club as well. “The best thing about the dinner,” she wrote in an email, “was for me to be able to harness the pure dedication in each of these members and to use it to create positive change for the global community.”

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

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