Laura Marano, actress and star of the Disney Channel series Austin and Ally, has been named the 2013 Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF Ambassador.

Video: UNICEF USA: Trick-or-Treat School Challenge Explained by Laura Marano

In this role, Marano will advocate, educate and fundraise for the original Kids Helping Kids campaign, which has already raised more than $170 million since 1950 to aid children around the world.

“I’m so excited to celebrate Halloween this year by encouraging kids to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work. The Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF campaign is a fun, easy way for kids to learn about world issues and to help other kids who are less fortunate,” said Marano.

Marano has helped kick off this year’s campaign and the inaugural nationwide “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF School Challenge” through two Public Service Announcements released today. The school challenge is part of an effort to support elementary school educators in teaching children about the needs of their peers in other countries and about the importance of giving.

From now until Oct. 31, teachers are asked to creatively document through video, photography or another visual format, how students are helping kids across the globe by participating in Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF activities. Five Grand-Prize winners will have the opportunity to travel to Tanzania and see UNICEF programs in action. They also will receive $1,000 cash grants for their classroom.

Entries can be submitted on beginning Oct. 1, 2013 through Jan. 31, 2014. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of judges who will announce the winners in spring 2014.

“We’re thrilled to have someone as bright and energetic as Laura to represent the campaign,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF has helped provide medicine, nutrition, clean water, education and more to children around the world, and we know Laura’s dedication will inspire other kids to participate in this great American tradition.”

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF has also developed a series of lesson plans to aid teachers in promoting global citizenship among students. This year’s themes are hunger and malnutrition, the cause of more than a third of all child deaths in developing countries. To sign up or to learn more about additional prizes visit Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #TOT4UNICEF.

The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is grateful for the support of National Sponsors HSN, Inc. and Key Club International, and Promotional Supporters American Airlines and Coinstar, Inc.

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