UNICEF works every day to advocate, generate awareness and raise funds for the most pressing issues facing children worldwide. American Airlines flight attendants volunteer as Change for Good Champions to support the cause.
For more than 15 years, BOS-based Flight Attendant Frank Eschmann has passionately worked to amplify the voices and needs of children worldwide through the airline’s partnership with UNICEF. Every time Frank works on an international trip, he ends the flight with an announcement about how customers can support UNICEF’s cause. He then carries a donation bag throughout the cabin to collect funds in any amount, and in any currency, for children in need.
“I always ask my colleagues who are interested in joining the program, ‘Would you walk 500 feet to save the life of a child?’ because that is about how many feet we walk when collecting coins on a Boeing 777. For those of us who have committed to being a Champion for Children, we won’t stop until every child is respected, protected, educated, and healthy.”
In 2009, Frank was chosen to attend a UNICEF field visit to Honduras. There, he witnessed the program’s invaluable impact on children and families. After touring schools and health care clinics around Tegucigalpa, Frank committed to advocating for the program moving forward. “I got to see firsthand how these inflight donations were providing safe water, protection, education and medicine for families in need. To this day, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” he said.
American has supported UNICEF’s Change for Good campaign for the last 28 years, raising more than $18 million to support programs that improve children’s basic needs in communities worldwide. American has about 5,000 Champions across its global network who are devoted to making a difference.
For ORD Flight Service Manager Silvia Salvi, every penny counts when you’re collecting funds for children. In her leadership role, Silvia ensures her team has all the resources they need to be successful Champions.
“Our goal is to change the lives of children,” she said. “Whether we’re helping build schools or other things that we often take for granted, I love seeing how this program makes a difference in the lives of children all over the world. Every penny and every peso can have a positive impact on the lives of kids, and that’s what we are all about here.”
Silvia witnessed a decline in donations due to COVID-19. Still, even through the hardships brought on by the pandemic, she was proud to see her team continuing to collect life-saving donations from generous customers. “COVID affected this program because we weren’t flying as much internationally. However, even when we were collecting less, it was good to see that the smaller amounts still mattered. Now, since more people can travel again, we have to find a bigger safe to store all of the donations our team is gathering.”
Customers and team members can learn more about the Change for Good program and donate online.