By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Students at the British International School of New York celebrated Red Nose Day at the Lewis Davis Pavilion in Waterside Plaza last Thursday with a jokeathon to raise awareness for child poverty.
Brave 10, 11 and 12-year-olds took the stage in front of their classmates to make them giggle for the event, which is part of a national fundraiser that collects donations for various organizations that benefit children throughout the US and the world. Red Nose Day started as a charity event in the UK through the organization Comic Relief, which started holding live fundraising comedy shows in the 1980s to address famine in Ethiopia. The highlight of the fundraising efforts was Red Nose Day, during which comedians participated in a telethon to raise money to address worldwide poverty.
Comic Relief USA is a sister organization to the charity in the UK and primarily raises funds specifically to tackle child poverty, while the UK focuses on poverty, as well as mental health issues and refugees. Walgreens sells the noses for $2, with $1.30 going to the fundraising effort, and Walgreens doesn’t make a profit on the noses.
Abigail Greystoke, director of BISNY, said that this is the first year the school held a jokeathon for Red Nose Day but students did still get involved in the event last year by hosting a bake-off to raise money for the cause.
“We look at ways to engage with (the event) and make charity come to life,” she said. “For them, charity can be quite a nebulous concept when you’re little so we try to create a framework for them to get involved.”
Christine Manula, a fundraiser for Comic Relief, said that the organization has been holding Red Nose Day in the US for the last five years but is still trying to increase awareness.
“The amazing thing about Red Nose Day in the UK is that everyone knows what it is,” she said. “We’re still trying to reach those levels here. It’s such a nice tie-in with the British International School and this being a British charity, the community already knows who we are and it’s easy for them to get involved. They’re getting their companies and schools involved and it’s like we’re bringing a bit of home to them.”