Youth­ball wel­comes same-sex cou­ples

Central Leader - - OUT & ABOUT - ZIZI SPARKS

A group of teenagers is en­cour­ag­ing cou­ples of any gen­der com­bi­na­tion to at­tend a ball for youth from around Auck­land.

The 2016 Unicef Char­ity Ball, called Utopia, is or­gan­ised by a small com­mit­tee of high school stu­dents who are all part of Unicef clubs at their re­spec­tive schools.

The ball posters come in mul­ti­ple de­signs, in­clud­ing lay­outs with same-gen­der cou­ples.

Teresa Lee, 18, says: ‘‘Unicef is about ac­cept­ing peo­ple for who they are. A lot of schools are not about di­ver­sity.’’

Com­mit­tee mem­ber and West­lake Boys’ High School stu­dent An­toine El­lis says it links back to the idea of youth hav­ing a voice.

El­lis says, while the group of 17 and 18-year-olds have checked in with adults, most of the work has been done by the teens, from planning and mar­ket­ing, to ne­go­ti­at­ing a venue and prices.

The ball will in­clude a buf­fet, pro­fes­sional DJ and pho­tog­ra­pher.

Jes­sica Chen says it has taught the group time-man­age­ment skills.

‘‘It re­ally proves you’re pas­sion­ate about it, be­cause you’re will­ing to put in the hard yards.

The group is aim­ing to raise be­tween $3000 and $6000 at the al­co­hol and drug-free ball, and at­ten­dees will vote on which Unicef cause the money goes to­wards.

Last year the group raised $1000 for the Syr­ian Refugee Cri­sis.

The or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee hails from five dif­fer­ent schools on the North Shore and stu­dents from 55 schools have ex­pressed in­ter­est in the ball.

Unicef, which stands for the United Na­tions Chil­drens Fund, was cre­ated by the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly in De­cem­ber 1946.

It was es­tab­lished to pro­vide emer­gency food and health­care to chil­dren in coun­tries that had been dev­as­tated by World War II.

in 1953 Unicef’s man­date was ex­tended to address the needs of chil­dren in the de­vel­op­ing world and be­came a per­ma­nent part of the United Na­tions sys­tem.

Lee hopes the ball will en­cour- age peo­ple to start their own Unicef club or start a con­ver­sa­tion about the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

The ball is for all high school stu­dents from years 11 to 13 and will take place on De­cem­ber 5 at Eden Park in Auck­land. Ticket sales fin­ish on Novem­ber 21. Visit bit.ly/utopi­a­ball16.

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