At St. Francis Xavier Elementary School in Taos, Mo., fifth-grade teacher Vicki Skahan turns Halloween into something more than just costumes and candy. For her students, Halloween signifies an opportunity to raise money for UNICEF.
This Halloween marks the fourth year Skahan has been participating in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF with her students. On Wednesday, Skahan’s students raised almost $200 to help children around the world get the things they need to survive and grow, such as vaccinations and school supplies.
Since 1952, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF has been raising money through trick-or-treating. Participants collect and donate money in a variety of ways. They can host a fundraiser, collect door-to-door Halloween night or trick-or-treat online.
For Skahan, the fundraising remains strictly a one-day, in-school activity.
“Each student brings in two bags of lollipops, and they sell them around the school for a quarter each,” she says.
While the entire school gets involved, Skahan’s students do the actual fundraising. Initially Skahan teaches her students about UNICEF and then has her students make posters and prepare five-minute speeches that outline the money-making plans. Then students spend the remainder of the day selling lollipops to their peers.
Since it began, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has raised more than $132 million. Over the last three years, Skahan’s students have contributed about $600. This year, the students came up a little short of their $200 goal. Skahan said she plans to make up the difference.
Not only do the children enjoy fundraising, but they learn something while doing it.
“There is a large education component to it,” Skahan says. “When they reach fifth grade they are very much aware of certain socio-economic issues in the world. We talk about those issues.”
“For parents who really want to introduce their children to philanthropy, Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF is a great way to connect them to the world around them and introduce them to giving back, and to also have fun,” says Katie Scolari, marketing manager for the Trick-or-Treat for the UNICEF campaign. For more information, visit unicefusa.org.