This is part 3 of a three part series on World Mom’s Bloggers Jennifer Burden, Nicole Melancon and Kyla P’an trip to the Shot@Life Summit in Washington DC. at the end of January to attend a summit focusing on the Shot@Life campaign, hosted by the United Nations Foundation. Click on links here to read Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.  Part 3 will focus on what we learned at the summit and some of the amazing Shot@Life Champions that we met.

So what happens when you bring together 45 of the nation’s most enthusiastic, energetic Shot@Life Champions?  A huge success filled with ideas, excitement and passion to help save the world’s children from vaccine-preventable deaths.

The Shot@Life Summit was orchestrated by the United Nations Foundation to train, motivate, organize and provide the tools necessary for the Shot@Life Champions to launch the movement this coming April during Global Immunization Week.  The Champions represented all walks of life.

There were moms, bloggers, photographers, doctors, advocates, entrepreneurs, a teenager representing Model UN, and two brave men who represented Rotary International and The Lion’s Club (two organizations that have already done a substantial amount of advocacy and fundraising for vaccines).

To give an example of just a few of the many “champions” we met, Dr. Ari Brown, coauthor of the popular reference book Baby 411, was there representing the American Academy of Pediatrics;  Wendy Smith, author of the book, “Give a Little: How Your Small Donations Can Change Our World” was also championing Shot@Life and gave us some great television media tips from the audience; and LaShaun Phillips-Martin of Mocha Moms told us about her organization’s upcoming meeting with Michelle Obama and how she hoped to engage the US first lady about the cause.

Shot@Life Champions at the UN Foundation headquarters in Washington, DC.

The list goes on!  Emily McKhann, who is co-founder of The Motherhood, Parenting Magazine and US state representatives from their Mom Congress, Amy Graff of Baby Center, Cynthia Changyit Levin of RESULTS, Polly Palumbo from Mommy Data and many more amazing Shot@Life champions!

The day and a half Shot@Life Summit was jam-packed with informative presentations and brainstorming sessions on such critical areas as advocacy, fundraising and social media tools.  Some of the highlights of the summit included an in-depth overview on childhood vaccines and safety by world-renowned Doctor Meg Fisher, advocacy training by UN Foundation’s Peter Yeo and several breakout sessions in which Shot@Life Champions were able to share ideas about launching the movement.

It was amazing how many creative, out-of-the-box ideas resulted from our time together as a group.   Some of the fundraising and awareness tactics mentioned included throwing a “Shot@Life” party that focuses on a theme that every mother around the world experiences such as a important milestones and events.  Incorporating current and new social media, such as Pinterest, were also discussed. Other ideas included hosting a 5k run, galvanizing other organizations such as the boy or girl scouts, and most of all involving children in the process.  We discovered that some of the best fundraisers ever are kids!

Morra Aarons-Mele, founder of Women Online, gave us examples of how she engaged her blogger friends to tweet and create Facebook status updates for the cause.  Aimee Mead of the UN Foundation told the story of how she had some friends over to talk about their children’s milestones and how they related their experiences to Shot@Life.

And our own World Moms Blog founder, Jennifer Burden, spoke about the pilot party she threw for the cause — a Shot@Life “Shot” Party, involving donations for shot glass sized foods from around the world which raised over $700 — enough to potentially vaccinate 35 children in the developing world!

It was obvious that many of the Champions are already experts at social media—the tweets were flowing steadily to their fans even during the meetings!

Some of the key take-aways we gained from the summit included:

  • We are fortunate to live in a democracy where our voice can and should be heard.  We were encouraged to contact our members of Congress and ask them to support global vaccines.
  • The attitude and belief that “we can move mountains” and “make positive change” in the world.  It is possible to make a difference.
  • Our community wants to help.  We just need to show them how they can, too, make a difference and save a child’s life.
  • There are many ways to spread the message using social media, blogging, writing articles in the paper, hosting informational events, fundraising, and galvanizing the community to support Shot@Life.

The enthusiasm, passion and creativity from the group was contagious, and World Moms Blog was thrilled to be a part of it.  By the end of two days everyone was ready to hit the ground running!

World Moms editors take time to pose with Peg Willingham, Executive Director of the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Campaign. (Jennifer Burden, Peg Willingham, Kyla P’an & Nicole Melancon)

If you would like to host a grass-roots event to help raise awareness for the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, go to the Shot@Life Take Action page to join the cause and connect with them on Facebook

Nicole Melancon (USA)

Third Eye Mom is a stay-at-home mom living in Minneapolis, Minnesota with her two children Max (6) and Sophia (4). Her children keep her continually busy and she is constantly amazed by the imagination, energy and joy of life that they possess! A world wanderer at heart, she has also been fortunate to have visited over 30 countries by either traveling, working, studying or volunteering and she continues to keep on the traveling path. A graduate of French and International Relations from the University of Wisconsin Madison, where she met her husband Paul, she has always been a Midwest gal living in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Chicago. This adventurous mom loves to be outside doing anything athletic (hiking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing or simply enjoying nature), to travel and volunteer abroad, to write, and to spend time with her beloved family and friends. Her latest venture involves her dream to raise enough money on her own to build and open a brand-new school in rural Nepal, and to teach her children to live compassionately, open-minded lives that understand different cultures and the importance of giving back to those in need. Third Eye Mom believes strongly in the value of making a difference in the world, no matter how small it may be. If there is a will, there is a way, and that anything is possible (as long as you set your heart and mind to it!). Visit her on her blog, Thirdeyemom, where she writes about her travels and experiences in other lands!

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