Heartwarming photographs of a humanitarian organization line the Stevenson Fireside Lounge.
The photo gallery displays professional and amateur photography depicting Save a Child’s Heart, an Israeli organization that performs cardiac surgery on young children. Santa Cruz Israel Action Committee (SCIAC), a campus organization, put together the photo gallery which has been on display since Monday.
SCIAC is a student-run organization that attempts to raise awareness about Israel and provide opportunities for UCSC students to learn more about the country’s culture.
“This is the year when the group is kind of exploding,” said Nathan Habib, a second-year Cowell student who is the co-president of SCIAC. “We try to advocate [for Israel] in a fun way and interest a student who has no connection to Israel.”
SCIAC’s goals are based on shining a positive light on the cultural aspects of Israel, letting students know that the country is not just about conflict.
“Israel is a country with conflict, but it’s not a country of conflict,” Habib said.
This past summer, Habib and several other members of SCIAC went on a “birthright” trip to Israel. The opportunity for this free trip is open to Jewish young adults between the ages of 18 and 24. During the trip, Habib first learned about Save a Child’s Heart.
“We went to the house where the children stay during their treatment and got to play with them,” Habib said. During the visit, he and the SCIAC advisor came up with the idea to have an event at UCSC to raise awareness about this organization and let people know that there are many volunteer opportunities within the organization.
Each surgery that Save a Child’s Heart performs costs approximately $10,000. Children from all over the world who are in desperate need of heart surgery are sent cost-free to Israel. The waiting list is currently about 1,000 children long.
For the photo gallery, Save a Child’s Heart provided images of some of the children who have been helped by the organization, taken by professional photographers. With funding from Hillel, the photo gallery had been in planning stages for about a month. Several SCIAC members are artists, and one member even works at an art gallery. A number of the photos at the gallery were taken by SCIAC’s own members on their birthright trip.
“We got together a few weeks ago and discussed what to order and what materials we needed,” said Shana Barnett, a third-year Stevenson student. Barnett works at an art gallery, and thus was essential in setting up the display.
The moving photos displayed around the Stevenson Fireside Lounge were admired by many, and helped SCIAC to achieve its goal of raising awareness. Along with the photos, a short film was played explaining Save a Child’s Heart’s goal and purpose.
There was an information table at the gallery’s opening event, providing pamphlets and informational reading about Save A Child’s Heart. Also on the info table was a large poster board with many small red hearts on it.
“It is a “Send Your Heart to Israel” poster,” Explained Maiyan Bino, a third-year student from College Eight. “People sign it and we are going to send it to Save a Child’s Heart in Israel.”
The photography and the event as a whole drew students from many different parts of campus and informed them about the organization while showing proactive ways students can participate to make a difference.
“It is a gallery that is shown all over,” Habib said. “This wasn’t a fundraiser — the goal of our event was to raise awareness of humanitarian aid in Israel and to show that there are opportunities to help.”