By: K’lena Schnack, international president

Every 17 minutes, a newborn dies from maternal and neonatal tetanus — a deadly bacterial infection that causes painful muscle spasms in the little time that the child has to live. But when a woman is vaccinated against tetanus, she and any future babies she has will be protected against this horrible disease. In 2015, the Key Club International Board pledged US$3 million toward The Eliminate Project, a joint project of Kiwanis International and UNICEF dedicated to protecting women and their babies worldwide from tetanus. Since then, Key Club International has raised over $2 million!

This year, you can join me in taking action against MNT: I invite you to participate in the President’s Project. With this new initiative, Key Club International presidents will select a partner, campaign or project that reflects their passion — and encourage members to learn more and help out.

I chose The Eliminate Project as my President’s Project for several reasons:

  1. Our membership is undereducated about this important issue. By focusing on education and providing resources to our members, we can boost both knowledge and enthusiasm in our fundraising efforts. As the year continues, look out for promotional materials, a fundraising guide and other resources for members, clubs and district officers.

  2. We are almost to the finish line of our goal. As of early November, we had $816,874 remaining to fulfill our pledge. Last year, we raised about $340,000; this year I want top that by $20,000, raising $360,000 overall.

  3. I am personally attached to this cause. Since my early years in Builder’s Club, I have participated in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF. I’ve been inspired by watching this campaign build momentum and increase its fundraising power.

Together, we can fulfill Key Club’s commitment to mothers and babies around the world. Ready to help? Consider one of these fundraising ideas and go make a difference!

  • Miracle Minute: During lunch, a break or homeroom, set aside 60 seconds to ask everyone to donate loose change for The Eliminate Project. Explain why it’s so important.

  • Wishing Well: Decorate a box, basket or other container. Invite students to learn about maternal and neonatal tetanus and then to make a wish while tossing coins into the “well.”

  • Fun Food Fridays: Celebrate the weekend. Organize a snack cart to deliver popcorn, cookies or other tasty treats to sell at school on Fridays.

  • Cinema Eliminate: Turn your school into a movie theater. Show a timeless classic with wide appeal and charge an admission fee or ask for donations to enter.

  • Shots for Tots: The Eliminate Project protects moms and babies from tetanus through vaccinations. Host an event with shots of a different kind — a basketball, football, soccer or corn hole competition.

  • Skate to Eliminate: Ask your fellow students to lace up some skates and participate in a skate-a-thon. Host this at the ice rink or roller rink, depending on whether your group likes to glide or roll.