Columbia High Students Raise $730 for Vaccinations

Organizing and executing a fundraiser to help children in third world countries is not an easy task, but the students of the Columbia High School International Club in White Salmon Washington did it and did it well. Using determination, hard work and community partners, these students worked together to raise over $730.00 dollars for the American Red Cross’ International Measles Initiative.

The Measles Initiative is a partnership— led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization (WHO) – that is committed to reducing measles deaths worldwide. In 2000, measles caused approximately 757,000 deaths, mostly children under five. By 2006, measles deaths were reduced to 242,000 people worldwide– a remarkable drop of 68 percent. The reduction was even greater in Africa where measles deaths plunged by more than 91 percent. The Measles Initiative is working toward the goal of reducing measles deaths by 90 percent worldwide by 2010 (compared to 2000).

The International Club at Columbia High School first learned of this initiative because their teacher, Shirlee Jellum and her husband, Tom, are volunteers for the local Red Cross. Jellum brought a guest speaker from the Red Cross to the class and the fundraiser was sparked there. Students then came together to help raise money for the Measles Initiative. These students worked throughout their school raising funds and then turned to the community for help.

The Big River Diner in Bingen allowed students to wait tables one evening and use the tips for the fundraiser. They earned over $500. The students also participated in the HUGS Fair in White Salmon where they raised money and Hood River’s Small Planet became a project partner and gave a percentage of their sales for a day. In a little more than three months time, the students had raised over $700.

After being presented with the check for $730.20, Hannah Settje, District Director of the Red Cross said, “It is so wonderful to see the youth of our communities helping in such a significant way. Each dollar raised can save one child’s life with a measles vaccination, we are so proud of all the lives saved here today. All we can say is thank you for all your hard work.”

For more information on the International Measles Initiative, please go to or contact your local American Red Cross.

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