Student writes song for UNICEF

Junior sings piece to raise profits for United Nations Fund, Ukraine efforts


Sophia Zich ‘24 sings her original song ‘By Your Side’ alongside her father, David Zich, in their atrium (photo courtesy of Sophia).

Maddie Gee, News Editor, Multimedia Editor

In honor of Ukrainian children, Sophia Zich ‘24 filmed a video singing a song she wrote titled “By Your Side” to begin a fundraising campaign on Dec. 15, 2022. Since the third grade, her passion for songwriting has brought her to raising over $7,000 that has benefitted children in need of water, nutrition, and medical supplies, she said. 

With the current unit of foreign aid in discussion during her history class, Zich’s song has been used as an example by U.S. History teacher Sydney Slager. Although the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) fundraiser is not affiliated with the government, its purpose still delivers humanitarian aid. Proceeds aim to help children who are in desperate need of nutrition, water and medical supplies, according to the fundraiser’s landing page. Slager sees Zich as a student whose personality fully aligns with the cause. 

“From day one, [Zich] was extremely bubbly and very outgoing,” Slager said. “She’s got a method of being able to take what she knows and turn it into some sort of action plan to benefit what’s going on in the world.”

Zich has written a multitude of songs from a young age, with influences from both her brother and father, who also play piano, she said. Pairing chords to her voice for various hours at the piano bench is a process she has adapted, which all begins via the recommendation of a friend or personal inspiration.

“It’s funny because at our piano, there are piles of lyrics,” her father David Zich, said. “Probably 70% I don’t even read through because they’re some friend’s boyfriend problem or some crisis that she’s been asked to write about.”

After seeing the conflict constantly on the news, Zich began a plan to write and perform a song in her family’s atrium room. Surrounded by family and her friend that recorded the video, it was the first time she performed with her father’s accompaniment. For this song, specifically, she sent a recording of chords to her former music teacher who helped to develop an arrangement on the piano. Using research from articles, she worked to incorporate stories reported of victims into the lyrics. 

“One [article] was about how a woman had no hospital to give birth in,” Zich said. “It’s not specific names of people, but it’s just me taking little quotes and turning it into individuals that could have experienced similar situations.”

After it was posted to Facebook, the fundraiser quickly grew to the goal of $5,000 in one week. Feedback from donors indicated a major reason for contributions was–apart from the cause or the singer–the song itself. 

“A lot of them didn’t know Sophia and weren’t that involved in Ukraine,” her father said. “When they heard the song, however, the emotions of it motivated them to donate.”

In the future, Zich hopes to continue her passion for music and potentially record her music in a studio. 

“It’s been in the works for five months, but I’m so happy to have gone through this process,” Zich said. “From amazing people, like my music teacher and parents to UNICEF, I’m just so grateful.” Donations can be made via the link: