Thursday, July 19

Camp Kesem’s UCLA chapter holds social media campaign to fundraise


Volunteers for the UCLA chapter of Camp Kesem, a national nonprofit organization that aims to help children with a parent who has or previously had cancer, are holding a social media fundraising event on Tuesday. (Camp Kesem)

Volunteers for the UCLA chapter of Camp Kesem, a national nonprofit organization that aims to help children with a parent who has or previously had cancer, are holding a social media fundraising event on Tuesday. (Camp Kesem)


The original version of this article contained multiple errors and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for more information.

The UCLA chapter of Camp Kesem will hold a social media fundraising event Tuesday to support children whose parents are undergoing treatment for cancer or have overcome the disease.

To participate in the social media campaign, students can take photos at a booth on campus and post them online with the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #HelpCampKesem to encourage others to donate to charities on that day. The goal is to use the hashtags to create a stream of posts on Instagram and Facebook that show and encourage acts of selflessness.

The booth at UCLA will be set up on Bruin Walk from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but will be relocated to a covered spot on the Kerckhoff Hall patio or in front of Royce Hall if it rains.

Camp Kesem is a national nonprofit organization that aims to help children ages 6 to 16 who have a parent who has cancer or previously had the disease. The UCLA chapter is responsible for putting on a camp in the Angeles National Forest for two weeks every summer that is entirely student-led. The group keeps in contact with the families they meet and holds reunions every quarter, during which families spend time together for a few hours, sing camp songs and play games at Veterans Park, located less than 2 miles from UCLA.

#GivingTuesday is a national campaign designed to encourage students to think of others during the holiday season, said Matt Driver, public relations and marketing coordinator for Camp Kesem and a third-year applied mathematics student. The event, which encourages people to donate to any charity, was intentionally scheduled on Tuesday because group members thought people would be more likely to donate around the holidays, said Michael Ruder, co-executive director for Camp Kesem and a fourth-year cognitive science student.

“Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other (consumer-based holidays) get people to focus on spending money on themselves, so we’re trying to get them into the mindset of doing good for others,” Driver said.

Camp Kesem has a goal of raising $160,000 through fundraising events throughout the year, Driver said. Students can donate to Camp Kesem online.

Last summer, almost 4,000 children attended Camp Kesem nationwide, and more than 200 children are supported each year by the UCLA chapter, according to a press release.

“Our chapter is different in that it is larger than the others,” Driver said. “Last year, UCLA’s chapter won an award for most campers sent to camp, so we do have a larger reach because we are one of the biggest.”

Lauren Vaughan, co-executive director for Camp Kesem and a fourth-year biology student, said she thinks the message behind #GivingTuesday is powerful because it does not ask individuals for donations to a specific cause, and instead broadly encourages others to be generous during the holiday season.

“It creates that sense of community and makes people feel like it isn’t just one person making a minimal change,” Vaughan said. “It’s everybody putting a hand in and ultimately making a big impact.”

Correction: Camp Kesem members did not create the #GivingTuesday campaign. The group follows up with the families they meet but do not provide a year of counseling or support services.

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