The students of Valparaiso High School’s UNICEF Club put together an amazing night on Friday, filled with music, food, philanthropy, and some pies to the face. Many of Valpo's talented young musicians duked it out in the night’s centerpiece, a rocking Battle of the Bands.
Hosted in the Urschel Pavilion in Central Park Plaza, five bands put on a fantastic show. Attendees also donated to see administrators from VHS and the UNICEF Club get pies in the face. The club’s driven students donated all proceeds from the event to the Shelter for Abused Children in Accra, Ghana. The club’s Vice President, Julia Rohde, came up with the idea for the event after studying abroad in Ghana and seeing the good the shelter did for struggling children.“When we’re so far away from countries like Ghana, it’s so easy for us not to see what’s going on,” said Rohde. “UNICEF is all about helping out those kids that we don’t hear or see everyday, these events let me and the rest of the UNICEF team give voice to these kids who are 5,000 miles away.”
UNICEF is a global organization that defends the rights of children in 190 countries and territories. The Shelter in Ghana received support from UNICEF in the past, but most of their funding comes from the government, which cannot always provide. The funds raised at the event will help children in Accra sleep safely at night.
Fundraising was second to the club’s main goal for the event, education and awareness. The students displayed their passion for the cause as they explained why the event matters for more than just money.
“I want people to learn what’s happening overseas,” said Rohde. “Personally, since it’s something I had a connection with, just being able to share that with the community is great.”
The cause energized the crowd almost as much as the music, fans were able to donate as a display of support to their favorite bands, with the winner of the battle being crowned through the highest donations and of course, fan volume. The crowd featured many students from VHS, who came as a show of support to their friends in the UNICEF Club or the performing bands.
“This is really cool, I love the cause,” said Baylie Benson, a student at Valparaiso High School. “It’s so impressive that they put this together. I see a lot of seniors here, I feel like this is also them kind of saying goodbye.”
Not to be outdone by the club and crowd, the student musicians put everything into their performances. Music is their passion, and being able to channel that into a worthy cause fueled their acts.
“I really appreciate what everyone is doing for this, it’s something that needs to happen,” said Alec Meson, vocalist and guitarist for Vunderkind and student at VHS. “This event spreads awareness. I’m pretty sure that anyone who comes to this, without even knowing the cause, would then be all about it. It just really helps the cause –one nation helping another.”