|“||Being [a] part of UNICEF has been one of the most important things I have done in my life. I've always wanted to urge people to help and donate [people who are in need].||”|
– Selena talking about helping others through UNICEF
The United Nations Children's Fund (or UNICEF) is a United Nations Programme headquartered in New York City, that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. It is one of the members of the United Nations Development Group and its Executive Committee. Selena Gomez is a UNICEF ambassador.
Gomez's participation with UNICEF
In October 2008, Gomez was named UNICEF's spokesperson for the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign, which encouraged children to raise money on Halloween to help children around the world. She said that she was "extremely excited" to "encourage other kids to make a difference in the world."
In August 2009, a 17-year-old Gomez became the youngest UNICEF ambassador ever, passing fellow songstress Hayley Westenra, who was 18 when she was chosen. In her first official field mission, Gomez traveled to Ghana on September 4, 2009 for a week to witness first-hand the stark conditions of vulnerable children that lack vital necessities including clean water, nourishment, education and healthcare. Gomez explained during an interview with Associated Press that she wanted to use her star power to bring awareness to Ghana: “That’s why I feel very honored to have a voice that kids listen to and take into consideration [...] I had people on my tour asking me where IS Ghana, and they Googled it [...] and because I went there, they now know where Ghana is. So it’s pretty incredible.” Gomez said of her role as ambassador that: "Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with UNICEF in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, UNICEF is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality."
Gomez was named spokesperson for UNICEF's 2009 Trick-or-Treat campaign, for the second year in a row. Gomez, who raised over $700,000 for the charity in 2008, stated that she hopes to be able to raise 1 million dollars in 2009. Gomez participated in a celebrity auction and hosted a live web cast series on Facebook in support of the Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign. Gomez returned as the UNICEF spokesperson for the 60th anniversary of Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign in 2010. In celebration of the 60th anniversary, Gomez and her band, The Scene, held a benefit concert donating all proceeds to the campaign. Gomez said, "It's very rewarding to be out there and help out- I think it's a good feeling to help out kids. It's a humbling experience."
In February 2011, Gomez traveled to Chile to witness and meet with the families of UNICEF's supported program, "Programa Puente" which helps families better understand and develops skills to deal effectively with early childhood education, development and other issues related to raising children. From her field trip experience, Gomez said "UNICEF is helping Chilean families get out of poverty, prevent violence within the home and promote education. To witness first hand these families' struggles, and also their hope and perseverance, was truly inspiring." In March 2011, Gomez participated in the UNICEF Tap Project's "Celebrity Tap Pack," limited-edition, custom-made water bottles featuring tap water from the homes of each celebrity advocate, in order to raise funds and increase profile for the clean water and sanitation programs. Gomez said her experience was "life-changing" and "eye-opening."
At the UNICEF Snowflake Ball at Cipriani 42nd St., New York City, on November 27, 2012, Gomez offered in its live auction a backstage experience to her concert and this way raised 40 000 USD. The event raised 2.5 M USD. Later that night, she tweeted “So proud to be a part of @unicefusa we raised 2.5 million dollars tonight!! #unicefsnowflake”.
- Jennifer Davis: “UNICEF Snowflake Ball: Selena Gomez and More Raise $2.5 Million”, Nov. 28, 2012. InStyle.com. Accessed 30 May, 2015.