Osan teens donate money to UNISEF
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The teens at Osan Air Base are giving back to the world in a big way.
The Key Club from the Osan Teen Center raised $2,700 for the United Nations Children's Fund to eliminate tetanus in babies, which claims the lives of more than 22,000 children before they reach their fifth birthday.
"The Key Club decided to raise money in support of UNICEF's Maternal/Neonatal tetanus prevention program," said Henry Ross, Osan's Teen Center director. "The program goal is to eliminate this easily preventable disease, and the actual cost of preventing this is only $1.80 a person."
Throughout the school year, the teens worked at several fund raising events, such as gift wrapping, bake sales and car washes. Program leads enlisted the aid of other teens to charter the club, and helped organize and conduct the fundraising efforts so the club's goals could be achievable.
"I think it's really great that they did this," said Yongja Mallone, youth program assistant at Osan. "They worked really hard to collect money for this charity."
As the teen center director, Ross steers the groups in the right direction during charitable events.
"I provide logistical support as well as facilitate any issues which may impede their efforts," he said. "We helped them by finding the local representative in Korea to donate the funds."
However, the real work belongs to the groups that are a part of the organization, he said. Raising the money and picking the charity was their doing.
"All of the teen center's fundraising events are contributed to charitable organizations," he said. "Each club or group decides which organization inspires them."
The Osan Teen Center works with teens from different bases in Korea who have a desire to do community service as small groups or individuals. The groups around base include The Keystone Club, The Pacific Air Forces Teen Council and the Key Club. They provide various after school activities and fundraising events. Programs are also set up for the teens to get to know the Korean culture.
"Here they have the opportunity to learn about history and meet a lot of Korean people," Mallone said. "We provide trips for them, so they can understand a little more about where they are living. They can also come over here to get financial help and learn how to budget for the future."
What people don't realize, said Ross, is the negative press teens get take-away from the great things they do, especially at Osan.
"You always hear the bad things that teens do, but there are a lot of teens out there who care about the world and get involved."
"One thing I think everyone should know is they are super kids here at Osan," she said.
For teens interested in giving back to the community, contact the center at 784-1492 or 784-4607.