I have spent the past several weeks preparing to host the NYC GAVI Global Tea Party, and while I am excited, I am also very nervous and starting to wonder how it is going to all work out!

The GAVI Global Tea Party is a grass-roots international advocacy party started by World Moms Blog to help the GAVI Alliance spread the word about the importance of  life-saving vaccinations for children in developing nations.

I was inspired to get involved when I read Jennifer Burden’s Facebook Status Update about her GAVI Global Tea Party in New Jersey. As some of you may remember, my last post was centered on “Giving Back”, and I was looking for a cause or charity that resonated with me and where I could spend some of my time helping others and making a difference.

This seemed like the perfect opportunity. I did some research on GAVI and the important work they do and decided I was “in”.

The challenge of hosting this type of event for me in New York City is that, New York City apartments being what they are (read small!); I needed to find a space to host the party. I started calling around, visiting venues and finally found a lovely Mediterranean restaurant on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called One Bite Mediterranean.

The event coordinator had extensive experience with fundraisers and charity events and agreed that the restaurant would act as co-sponsor with WMB. We were all set with the space, the first of many things on the to-do list!

While my decision to host was my own, the planning of the event is far from a one woman show. Our founder, Jen Burden and awesome contributor Maman Aya in NYC have jumped right in and are making planning this event such a great, group experience for me. I am beyond grateful to these women for their ideas, support, generosity, and for making this experience so much fun.

We are all working together to make this event a success and to raise awareness and funds for such a great cause. We will be collecting donations for Shot@Life, the UN Foundation’s Campaign that is a U.S. partner of the GAVI Alliance. This experience, for me, has been, in action, the best of what we can do at WMB.

I could never have gotten this far without daily emails from Maman Aya with her endless good ideas, tech savvy and fundraising skills (I should mention she prompted a group of preschoolers to raise over $100 in coins for the charity!). Jen Burden has been a huge source of inspiration and she asked Holly Pavlika, President of MOMentum, to come speak about her recent adventure to Tanzania with Shot@Life. Holly said yes, and we can’t wait to hear all about her trip to the field!

Overall, I’m pleased to be a part of this endeavor, and I’m really looking forward to it.

The one part of the event that has been giving me a bit of anxiety is my opening remarks. As an attorney by trade, I’m quite used to addressing large crowds, but I’ve rarely, if ever, done so in my personal life.

I’ve spent a good part of the last week thinking about what I will say. Each time I sit down to write a few notes I find myself turning to other work I need to do for the party or mindlessly surfing the web.

I know that I’m procrastinating because this is going to be the tough part. But, I also know that if I speak from the heart and am truly honest with myself, I will be able to articulate what GAVI’s work means to me and why I’m the one standing at the front of the room. I just hope I can get it all done by Sunday!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Alison Charleston in NYC, our resident lawyer turned stay-at-home mom. 

A team of World Moms Blog contributors have been hosting GAVI Global Tea Parties around the world to help launch an international grass-roots effort of advocacy for life-saving vaccinations for children in the developing world.  The parties are being filmed for a documentary. We will be posting information about hosting an advocacy party in the future, so watch this space! 

Photo credit to Moon Light Bulb. This photo has a creative commons attribution license. 

Allison Charleston (USA)

Allison is a 35-year-old attorney-turned stay at home mom. This New York City mom lives on the Upper East Side of Manhattan with her 2-year-old son, Chase, and her husband, Andy. She is also expecting baby #2! In her former life, she was an attorney practicing in a mega firm on NYC’s Park Avenue, putting in long hours, working hard and reveling in the fast pace of her life. She loved living in “the city”, and when she could, she took advantage of all it had to offer. But, when Chase was born over 2 years ago, that all changed. These days, the work has changed from writing legal briefs to changing diapers and the hours are longer, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Allison is enjoying her adventures as a metropolitan mommy, raising Chase in New York City and has gained strength from her longer-than-she-wanted-to-wait journey getting pregnant with her second child.

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