A Whole New World of Service

By TANAYA BADSA, freshman

A glimmering Arabian skyline, flowing fabrics, and twinkling lights adorned the cafeteria walls as JP Stevens Key Club’s annual Winter Fundraising Dance began. Held to raise money for the Eliminate Project, a service program dedicated to eliminating maternal/neonatal tetanus (MNT), a bacterial infection that causes painful tightening of the muscles, in Third World countries, the Arabian Nights event entertained and enchanted each one of the students who attended.

Key Club members transformed the cafeteria into an “Arabian Night” setting with pounding music, dancing, and, above all, spirit! Preparation for the event required almost a month’s work from white gossamer cloths and curtains to glowing dark green centerpieces.  Chairperson of the Special Events Committee, “Preparing for the Arabian Nights event was a wholly collaborative endeavor — it was definitely a fun and rewarding experience for everyone!”

All proceeds from the dance were donated to the Eliminate Project, a collaborative effort by Kiwanis International and UNICEF that works toward completely eradicating MNT from the world by 2015. Although MNT is rarely fatal in the United States and other developed  nations, there are thirty-six countries that are still profoundly affected, with a worldwide average of nearly ninety thousand deaths per year. These deaths are preventable, however, even a seven-dollar ticket has the potential to save three mothers and their children. “It is a source of motivation and determination to think that every dollar collected by our event could not only save a mother, but also save her from the pain of watching her newborn suffer,” senior Nikhila Manchikanti explained.

Throughout the night, DJs mixed music and people grabbed refreshments from the tables. Most surprising, however, were the auctions that were held: various dancers were auctioned off for slow dances. “I have never been to a Key Club dance before, so it was a great experience to go this year,” said Chris Ricigliano, junior. “The auctioning was a fun process, and it was for a good cause, too!”

Enjoyable and charitable, the Arabian Nights Dance truly raised awareness for combating MNT. With about $2200 raised, the JP Stevens Key Club has helped the Eliminate Project take one step closer to its goal. Freshman Aysha Ahmed said, “I never realized that by buying that one ticket, I could make a difference in the world, that one less child would die and one less mother would suffer. Who knew that such a fun event could save lives?”

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