Keller Citizen

Westlake students raise funds for two causes

Students at Westlake Academy are uniting to raise funds for two causes at this year’s annual UNICEF event.

On Nov. 16, students held an event to raise money for Emme—“A Walk With A Pop,” sponsored by Project Unify, a student group created to advocate for individuals with special needs.

And the other event, The Emme Nees/UNICEF Fundraiser. begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at Westlake Academy, 2600 JT Ottinger Road.

At the “A Walk With A Pop," 5K Walk/Run on Saturday volunteers threw colored corn starch at the walkers and runners as they left the school and when they crossed the finish line. About 300 participants and volunteers took part in this colorful walk/run for a cause.

The United Nations Children's Fund is an international humanitarian organization dedicated to saving children and works to ensure their survival, development and protection.

This year, instead of 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to UNICEF, half of the money will be donated to Emme Nees, the daughter of Vicki Nees, Westlake Academy’s Middle Years Program counselor.

Emme, who was born with Down Syndrome, was diagnosed last month with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes to many white blood cells.

Qaleb Pillai, president of the Westlake Academy UNICEF Club, said because the counselor and her daughter are a big part of the school and dear to many hearts, the club wanted to split the proceeds for both causes.

“Students wanted to raise money for Mrs. Nees’ daughter,” Qaleb said. “Both are a very important part of our community.”

The annual fundraiser has free entry and will include live entertainment, a silent auction, catered food and the sale of homemade deserts by UNICEF club members.

Parking will vary with lots starting at $5 to $10 and VIP parking for $15.

This year’s goal is set at $10,000.

Qaleb said in the past three years, the club has raised more than $19,000 for UNICEF, including the $9,000 which was raised at last year’s event.

T-shirt sales also contribute to the amount raised.

To donate for Emme Nees medical care, go to