Local student raises money for vaccinations through trick-or-treating

By Brandon Gustafson | Nov 08, 2017
Courtesy of: Zach Durocher Zach Durocher, a freshman at Kamiak High School, donning his handmade costume made to resemble his donation box for “Trick-or-treating for UNICEF,” which helped raise money for the ELIMINATE Project.

Throughout Mukilteo and, for that matter, throughout the entire country, children donned their costumes, held on to their plastic pumpkins and went door-to-door trick-or-treating in the hopes of getting their favorite candy.

A yearly tradition for children and parents alike, the streets run rampant with kids donning costumes ranging from superheroes to princesses to skeletons and ghosts.

But in the Possession Bay and Faire Harbour neighborhoods, one 14-year-old boy ventured door-to-door donning a large orange box.

Instead of asking for candy like nearly every other trick-or-treater that night, Zach Durocher, a freshman at Kamiak High School who is a member of Kamiak’s Key Club, was asking for monetary donations as part of “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF.”

“Key Club is an international community service club led by students,” Durocher said. “I joined for a few reasons. One is because it looks good on a college application, and two, I wanted to get involved with some extracurricular activities at Kamiak.”

Despite Durocher being a freshman, the Key Club adviser, Kamiak teacher Diana Ham feels he is a great fit for Key Club and all it entails.

“We are still getting to know Zach Durocher,” Ham said. “As a freshman he’s brand new to Key Club this year. I can tell you his altruistic nature and determination has not gone unnoticed. He has the kind of positive energy we want to encourage in Key Club.”

According to Durocher, Kamiak’s Key Club partnered with UNICEF to help raise money for the ELIMINATE project.

“UNICEF helps provide for and protect children who are in need,” Durocher said. “This specific fundraiser was to support the ELIMINATE project. This project is to vaccinate women and their future babies against tetanus.”

UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, was started over 70 years ago after the end of World War II in order to help provide aid to children in post-war Europe and China. Since then, the organization has grown exponentially and, according to UNICEF’s website, they serve children in 190 countries.

“The program was started after World War II, and helped kids affected by the war,” Durocher said. “Now, kids are trick-or-treating for donations for kids that need more than just candy.”

Durocher said his effort succeeded due in large part to the generosity of his neighbors.

“The people in my neighborhood were very supportive,” Durocher said. “At least two-thirds of those asked donated, and they usually donated at least a couple dollars. The highest donation I received was $10. I received twice as much donation money as I expected.”

Durocher made his own costume for this as well. He made himself into a larger version of his donation box.

“The costume was relatively simple to make, so it took just over an hour to paint and put together,” Durocher said. “I used an old box from a printer, sharpies and spray paint to create a scaled-up version of the collection box.”

In just two hours, Durocher raised over $140 for the ELIMINATE Project, and Ham said that it was a success for the other students who participated as well.

“We had about 35 students who collected over $800, all which we send to UNICEF’s ELIMINATE Project to eradicate neonatal tetanus,” Ham said. “As for this one event, Zach collected the most donations totaling $141.37 with sophomore Maeve Head right behind him with collections totaling $99.63.”

Due to his success and the joy it brought him, Durcoher recommends “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF” to others.

“I would recommend this to anyone who wants a fun project and a way to get their community service hours,” Durocher said. “I would like to thank everybody who donated to me and helped me raise $140 for UNICEF.”

If you, like Zach Durocher, would like to donate money toward the ELIMINATE Project, visit https://www.unicefusa.org/mission/survival/immunization/tetanus/eliminate and click “Donate Now” on the right-hand side.


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