Giving Tuesday was created to transform how people think about, talk about and participate in the giving season. It has become an international movement around the holidays dedicated to giving, in the same way that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now synonymous with holiday shopping.
After the frenzied commercialism of Black Friday sales (that now last through the weekend) and the inundation of Cyber Monday e-mails, Giving Tuesday provides a way to make sure we give as good as we get.
Giving Tuesday has become an international phenomenon, and for North Americans it’s an opportunity to harness all of the grateful energy amassed over Thanksgiving and transform it directly into the spirit of helping others. It feels like this year more than ever we are reminded that family, good health, a place to call home, security, access to clean water, and food to eat are not things to be taken for granted. If you are reading this chances are that you have the good fortune to live in a place where food security, education, and housing are the norm. It is basic humanity to extend a hand if we can and there are so many positive ways to give back, and celebrate the true meaning of “The Giving Season”.
Here are a few organizations doubling donations today and working to make the world a better place on #GivingTuesday:
Shot At Life – UNF, Honduras, Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012. Photo Credit: Stuart Ramson
One of the greatest investments we can make in global health is to vaccinate children against vaccine preventable diseases. The impact is undeniable as demonstrated in this Impact Report by Shot@life.
MAM, has agreed to match all donations dollar-for-dollar to shot@life this #GivingTuesday and Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have teamed up to match up to $2 million in funds for nonprofits. To have your donation to Shot@Life matched, donate through Shot@Life’s Facebook Page.
Water is life, plain and simple. This #GivingTuesday is an opportunity to double your impact an provide clean water to families and villages around the world who do not have something most of us take for granted. Clean water.
Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.
L to R: Gwen Zwanziger – Flu Prevention Advocate, Amber McCarthy- Founder, Flu Moms Facebook Group, Dr. Barbara Rath – Co-founder & Chair, Vienna Vaccine safety Initiative, Janet Tobias – Producer & Director, Unseen Enemy
When you’ve gone to a few Summits like I have, you start to wonder if you’ll be as inspired as you were previously. This past Moms+SocialGood Summit on May 4th definitely proved that out.
Going on their 5th year, Moms+SocialGood Summit continues to raise awareness about issues that affect so many, from poverty to maternal mental health. The speakers range from health professionals, celebrities and moms like me who attend to speak about topics that matter to them.
Every year, Global Moms Challenge asks a question of their speakers for Moms+SocialGood and this year’s is: “What do you wish were true for every family, everywhere?”
Of the numerous speakers that day, one made quite an impact on me. A conversation centring on the theme of having “A Future Where Unseen Enemies Are Defeated” addressed Gwen Zwanziger’s story of her daughter tragically passing away from flu complications in 2014. Shannon, Zwanziger’s 17-year-old daughter came home one day complaining of not feeling well and informed her mother that someone from her school had the flu. She didn’t seem to be sick so Zwanziger advised her daughter to rest. By the next day, Shannon developed a high fever, prompting Zwanziger to take Shannon to their doctor. After being seen and determining that it was the flu, she was advised to bring her daughter home and to give Shannon lots of fluids. Thinking that it was just the flu, Zwanziger believed that it would “just run its course”. But a week later, Shannon became worse and after being hospitalized, died of flu complications. Her story made it even more tragic because her daughter’s demise could have been prevented by doing one thing: getting a flu vaccine. As easy as that may sound, it doesn’t take away the heartbreaking fact that one decision changed Zwanziger’s life forever. Zwanziger’s commitment to raising awareness on the importance of the flu vaccine through her involvement in the documentary film, “Unseen Enemy” by Janet Tobias, is crucial because lives are lost unnecessarily every year to this virus and from other infectious diseases like Zika and Ebola globally.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) recommends that every person, 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine every year. This season’s flu vaccine against the Influenza A(H3N2) virus has been 48% effective. While the type of influenza virus varies each year, it shouldn’t hinder any person from being vaccinated, unless one is considered to be at high risk for influenza complications, like adults older than 65, as well as persons who have asthma, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease, to name a few.
As a mom, I made sure that my daughter was up to date with her vaccines every year, and while I knew a few moms who didn’t believe their child should be vaccinated for their own reasons, it didn’t dissuade me from protecting my child and our family from infectious diseases. Vaccines ensure that every person is provided with the means to fight for their health and well-being, and at the end of the day, that’s what every Mother wants. That said, I never considered the Flu vaccine to be important. While it’s not 100% effective, this story has made me reconsider whether or not I and my family should be vaccinated yearly.
While Moms+SocialGood Summit was a day filled with advocacy and initiatives to solve today’s global problems, and every speaker responding to the question, “What do you wish were true for every family, everywhere?”, my takeaway is this:
I wish for a future where health care and education are accessible to every person, in order to fully reach their potential and be a responsible, global citizen that others can look up to and emulate.
Our world is imperfect, but as citizens, we can aspire to be more than what we are and inspire others to build a lasting global community.
So we ask our readers this – “What do you wish were true for every family, everywhere?
Tes Silverman was born in Manila, Philippines and has been a New Yorker for over 30 years. Moving from the Philippines to New York opened the doors to the possibility of a life of writing and travel. Before starting a family, she traveled to Iceland, Portugal, Belgium, and France, all the while writing about the people she met through her adventures. After starting a family, she became a freelance writer for publications such as Newsday’s Parents & Children and various local newspapers. Fifteen years ago, she created her blog, The Pinay Perspective. PinayPerspective.com is designed to provide women of all ages and nationalities the space to discuss the similarities and differences on how we view life and the world around us. As a result of her blog, she has written for BlogHer.com and has been invited to attend and blog about the Social Good Summit and Mom+Social Good. In addition, she is a World Voice Editor for World Moms Network and was Managing Editor for a local grass roots activism group, ATLI(Action Together Long Island). Currently residing in Virginia Beach, VA with her husband, fourteen year-old Morkie and a three year old Lab Mix, she continues to write stories of women and children who make an impact in their communities and provide them a place to vocalize their passions.
Many of us might hear the word “cancer” and automatically think that such a diagnosis would be a death sentence. This could be based on things we’ve heard, images we have seen portrayed in the media, or perhaps a personal experience – a friend or relative who has been affected by this “c” word. The truth is it greatly depends on the type of cancer…how early it is diagnosed…and whether or not a person has access to treatment.
In the US, January is #CervicalHealthMonth. Today we are talking it about it here because cervical cancer is an international issue and I’m sharing on World Moms Blog because it is an important topic to me, too. More than half a million women around the world are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year and over half of them die from the disease. The majority of these cases and deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.(1) (more…)
Eva Fannon is a working mom who lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her hubby and two girls. She was born and raised on the east coast and followed her husband out west when he got a job offer that he couldn't refuse. Eva has always been a planner, so it took her a while to accept that no matter how much you plan and prepare, being a mom means a new and different state of "normal".
Despite the craziness on most weekday mornings (getting a family of four out the door in time for work and school is no easy task!), she wouldn't trade being a mother for anything in the world. She and her husband are working on introducing the girls to the things they love - travel, the great outdoors, and enjoying time with family and friends. Eva can be found on Twitter @evafannon.
My older son was born in 2003 and diagnosed with autism in 2007, when proponents of the vaccine/autism link were at their loudest. Since my son had displayed autism-like tendencies from birth, I never bought into this theory, and both he and his younger brother are up-to-date with their vaccines.
I find myself constantly having to defend my parenting choices where vaccinations are concerned. I get accused of not doing my research (I have), of supporting the interests of Big Pharma (I really have no feelings about Big Pharma one way or the other), and of pumping my children full of toxins (most of the ingredients in vaccines are present at higher doses in what we eat, drink and breathe).
The whole debate mystifies me a little, not only because of the overwhelming scientific evidence refuting the autism/vaccine link, but because there are those who believe that autism is such a bad thing that they are willing to force bleach enemas into their kids to “flush out the vaccines”. I hate to break it to you, but if you do that, your kid will be seriously ill, and he or she will still have autism.
A growing number of parents are basing their decisions not to vaccinate their children on myths instead of science. Some of these myths include the following:
1. Courts have confirmed the link between autism and the MMR vaccine. This myth is based on one Italian court case featuring a child who was diagnosed with autism a year after being vaccinated. The court found in favour of the child’s parents, and its ruling was based on a flawed, fraudulent report that has been discredited. And let’s face it, how much should we trust a court system that stated that a man cannot be convicted of rape if his victim was wearing jeans?
2. Vaccine shedding has resulted in more measles cases than unvaccinated kids. In one of the books in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy series, Douglas Adams likened the chances of something with the odds of dropping a ball bearing from a moving 747 and hitting an egg sandwich. The odds of vaccine shedding – the phenomenon of someone catching a disease from someone who has recently been given a live vaccine – are similar. There has been the one-in-a-gazillion case of the rubella portion of the MMR vaccine shedding into breast milk, and in over 55 million doses, there have been five reported cases of shedding in the Varicella chicken pox vaccine.
3. There is almost no autism in the Amish community, which does not vaccinate. Both parts of this statement are incorrect. Most Amish parents do vaccinate, and autism does exist in the Amish community, although at a lower rate than in the general population.
4. Diseases like measles and polio have been reduced not because of vaccines, but because of better living conditions. Substandard living conditions, including poor sanitation and lack of access to a safe water supply, exist in many poverty-stricken places in Africa. While some diseases, like bilharzia and cholera, spread very quickly in places like this, the incidence of measles and similar illnesses has dropped dramatically in places that have had vaccination programs.
5. People who vaccinate their kids have nothing to worry about. A common argument of those who choose not to vaccinate is, “If your kids are vaccinated, what are you so worried about?” That is true – I’m not too worried about my kids, whose shots are up to date. On the other hand, I am worried about the elderly person who lives in the same house as me. I worry about one of my loved ones, who is immune compromised because of the chemotherapy she is currently enduring. I worry about a friend’s two sons, who are transplant recipients and cannot receive vaccines. I worry about the pregnant women I know, and about the newborns who are too young to be vaccinated.
6. Measles, chicken pox and whooping cough are normal childhood illnesses. Anytime you put the words “normal” and “illness” into the same sentence, there is a problem. Illness, by its nature, is not normal. It’s a state of imbalance, of the body not functioning the way it’s supposed to. When these illnesses were common, it is true that many people got through them without serious consequences. But there were those who didn’t. There were the babies who died of pneumonia, the pregnant women who lost their babies, the kids who died of encephalitis, the people who suffered irreversible loss of sight.
7. The risk of vaccine injury means that no-one should vaccinate their kids. To play devil’s advocate for a moment, vaccine injury may exist. In a small percentage of the population, vaccines are alleged to cause serious illness and even death. But that is not the fault of the vaccine. It is simply a tragic result of the genetic makeup of some individuals. People who are at significant risk of vaccine injury have a very valid medical reason not to vaccinate – in fact, they are among the people we need to protect via herd immunity. But to say that no-one should vaccinate because of the few who are genuinely at risk is as ridiculous as saying that no-one should wear seatbelts because of the handful of people who have been harmed or killed by seatbelts in vehicle accidents.
When making the decision to vaccinate or not vaccinate, parents need to be driven more by the facts and less by emotion and media-generated fear.
Where do you stand on the vaccine debate? Do you believe that vaccines should be mandatory with an allowance for medical exemptions?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by Kirsten Doyle (Running For Autism) of Toronto, Canada. Photo credit: PATH Global Health. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.
Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny).
Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels.
When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum.
Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world.
Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!
Today was a landmark day for funding for the GAVI Alliance, which provides life-saving vaccinations for children around the globe. Over $7 billion US Dollars was pledged to GAVI, with the UK and the US leading the way. A group of our contributors have been working with Shot@Life, the ONE Campaign and RESULTS to put pressure on the U.S. government to fund GAVI. World Mom, Cindy Levin, also on the Board of RESULTS, is celebrating the lives that will be saved with this funding with her daughters in Missouri, USA. Read her reaction, as well as that of her daughters’, on her blog, The Anti Poverty Mom.
And World Mom, Michelle Pannell, writes from the UK about the momentous funding to save lives. It was a spiritual reminder for her on why she continues to write. Read her post at Mummy From the Heart.
In Missouri, USA, World Mom and activist, Cindy Levin, and her daughters celebrate the importance of pledged funding to the GAVI Alliance for global vaccination programs for children.
Michelle Pannell in Ethiopia advocating for world poverty with the ONE Campaign in 2012.
Thank you for your hard work, Cindy, Michelle and fellow World Moms!!
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India.
She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls.
Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.
It has been almost two weeks since I attended the AYA Summit in Washington DC at Google’s offices with ONE, and I still feel a flood of emotion each time I think about the experience. As I wrote on my blog last week, the words to explain such a powerful and inspiring event are hard to come by.
The AYA Summit focused on issues facing girls and women in the developing world, with a special emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. The name AYA comes from an African Adinkra Symbol, which means fern and symbolizes endurance, resourcefulness and growth.
I, along with fellow World Moms Blog contributors Jennifer Burden, Elizabeth Atalay, Nicole Morgan, Nicole Melancon, Kelly Pugliano and Cindy Levin, sat in a room of about 80 bloggers and listened to inspiring panel after inspiring panel. In addition to thought-provoking conversations about human trafficking, the importance of vaccinations, electrifying Africa, making change through economic opportunities and the dire need to end Ebola in West Africa, we witnessed incredible performances by a young poet named Marquesha Babers and actress Danai Gurira.
Tears were shed. We were all moved and left wanting to do more for women and girls around the globe.
Why invite only bloggers to such a powerful event? According to this article from WUSA9 who covered the event, the combined audiences of our blogs exceeds 45 million and 28 states. As it was noted, “that kind of reach is priceless.”
There was a general theme of storytelling throughout the event. As bloggers, we have the ability to tell the stories of girls and women around the globe that the mainstream media simply cannot duplicate. We use our experiences as women, mothers and global citizens to lend our voices to those who don’t have a microphone and help others join in the conversation. We personalize the stories, talk about our concerns, and amplify the issues that media may not even be fully aware of or willing to devote the time to cover.
As Ginny Wolfe, Senior Director, Strategic Relationships at ONE, said at the very start of the AYA Summit, “We’re not asking for your money, we’re asking for your voice.” If you are reading this post, you can lend your voice too.
Though it is still hard to put into words what the AYA Summit meant to me, I thought I would share the highlights and key takeaways through a series of tweets during the event: