- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 22 February 2017
- Written by NICOLE SEITZ | COPY EDITOR
Carly Miller, a junior homeland security student, has raised about $40 so far in donations for the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) by creating “Keychains for Children” to directly help child refugees from Syria.
The keychains are little plastic animals painted with various metallic colors. Miller explained how she had to screw a hole into each plastic animal and attach the keychain ring to create her final product.
The homeland security student has been selling her keychains through her personal instagram and facebook accounts and also booked a few days in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center(RSSC) to sell her keychains in person a few weeks ago. Miller plans to continue selling her keychains online and booking table space across from the information booth in the RSSC to sell them for $2 each.
Miller explained how she really felt moved to dive into this craft.”It was truly the intense media coverage and intimate personal videos of the victims I saw on social media one night that really motivated me to do something,” said Miller.
Her inspiration for the project cane when she was scrolling through her facebook page and saw all of these videos of innocent civilians being shot and killed in Syria. A few months ago, government forces in Syria attacked the city of Aleppo. The attack was supposedly a search for rebels, but it was evident that they were just killing innocent civilians.
Miller said, “How could I sleep when in front of my own eyes, there were civilians like me being brutally killed?” She continued, “I felt helpless and sick to my stomach about how privileged I was just to be able to safely go to bed.”
After creating the keychains, Miller had to decide which organization would be best to donate the money to. “I believed sending the money through the UN would be the best,” said Miller. “The UNHCR focused on healthcare and housing efforts as well as counseling for children, which I thought was amazing.”
Mary Harris, Specialist Professor of Public Relations, commented on the importance of fundraising and awareness for world issues, “Fundraising and public relations plays an essential role in the public’s awareness of important causes,” Harris continues, “I encourage students to take an active role for the causes that they align with most.”
Miller created this fundraiser all on her own and plans to do a lot more to give back. “This is only the beginning of my humanitarian outreach goals,” she shares. Miller also encourages others to get involved and give back however they can. “I chose to take an artistic route and create things to sell, but there are many other ways to raise money,” said Miller. “People can raise money through events, food, and countless other ways.”
The message that Miller wants to spread through her activism is that people shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what they believe in or for what they are passionate about. Also, instead of being cynical or heartbroken when you read the news, find a way to do something. Doing anything is better than nothing. “There is no such thing as a small impact, small is only the start to something bigger if you set your heart and mind to it,” expressed Miller.
Miller has shown her passion for giving back not only from her “Keychains for Children” project, but also from her great involvement in campus activities. Miller is the Secretary and Head of Public Relations for the Monmouth Youth Activists Group (YAG). YAG is a club which focuses on ways to make a change in the world.
“This club has already done so much for other people,” said Miller. “All and any passions are welcomed and I must thank the club for giving me a way to create change with awesome people.”
“This whole project that Carly is working on is really a testament to her global awareness,” said Ryan Tetro, an Instructor of Political Science and Sociology and advisor for YAG.
“A project like this helps to remind us all that these issues are happening and we can’t just ignore them.”
Tetro continues to explain that, regardless what people believe politically, we are all human and there should be a unifying bond amongst all of us.
Tetro said, “Regardless of what side you are on in politics, people should be able to agree that there is a global issue that needs to be addressed.”
“I think, especially in this day and age, politics and beliefs can muddle our decisions on human outreach and other forms of volunteering,” said Miller. “However, I felt it was my humanitarian responsibility to do something for those in need, despite politics.”
Miller and many others in YAG and all over campus are advocating for the innocent victims of the turmoil in Syria. Politics are not a factor here, love for one another and understanding are the primary goals.
PHOTO TAKEN by Nicole Seitz
IMAGE TAKEN from syracuse.com