Category Archives: Motherhood

How $5 Saved Two Lives

How $5 Saved Two Lives

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Here is another story of how the efforts of one person can save lives. I am honored to be part of World Moms Blog where I write and edit with other moms from all around the world. I am continually inspired by them, and as I edit our weekly Social Good or World Voice piece that goes up each Tuesday, I often find myself wiping the tears away during an emotional or beautifully written piece. Kristyn Zalota is one of those writers and the founder of the non-profit CleanBirth.org . CleanBirth.org works to prevent the needless deaths of mothers and babies in Laos, where maternal and infant mortality rates are among the highest in the world.  I am in awe of her, what she has built, and accomplished in less than two years with CleanBirth.org.

Already with a local Lao partner Our Village Association, CleanBirth.org has provided 2,000 AYZH Clean Birth Kits, served 150 villages, trained 15 nurses and 20 Village Volunteers.  The nurses trained about Clean Birth Kits and safe birthing practices, have begun passing their knowledge to women from each remote village.

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This week from February 4-7th, World Moms Blog, Multicultural Kids Blog, and Girls Globe are coming together to support World Moms Blog contributor, Kristyn Zalota’s, organization, CleanBirth.org by kicking off a crowd funding campaign to raise $7,500! These funds will help maximize a visit from Yale Midwifery students scheduled for July 2014 during which 30 nurses will be trained in the World Health Organization’s Essentials of Newborn Care. The Essentials are: clean birth, newborn resuscitation, skin to skin newborn care, basic newborn care and breastfeeding.   This information will then be incorporated into the Village Volunteers training. By providing access to the midwives from Yale, our Lao partners, the local nurses, and Village Volunteers will have more tools to improve care for mothers and infants.  This promotes the CleanBirth.org mission to make birth safer by empowering those on the ground with the training and resources they need.

For just $5 CleanBirth.org provides a mother with all the hygienic birthing supplies she needs to make birth safe. That can save both the life of a mother and a baby.  Funds also go towards training nurses and Village Volunteers to teach mothers in remote areas about safe birthing practices.   You can help by joining the Twitter Party on the 6th, and then the crowd funding campaign,  where for as little as $5 you can help save two lives, and make sure that women like Yai have safe births for both mother and child.

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Samahope Gives Us The Opportunity To Do Something Remarkable

Samahope Gives Us The Opportunity To Do Something Remarkable

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Back in 2006 Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson published an article in Wired Magazine that coined the term  Crowdsourcing by combining the terms crowd and outsourcing to describe a trend on the internet.  Of course crowdsourcing was not a new idea, but this was a new term, and the interment was making it possible to take crowdsourcing and crowdfunding to a whole new level. These days it has become an almost  mainstream launching pad from entrepreneurs to artists to fund projects and collect data through the various sites that have popped up to do so.

Samahope has a different vision for crowdfunding, and has come up with a way to give us each an opportunity to do something remarkable to transform and uplift another person’s life. Read the rest of this entry

X-Box or Nintendo? It depends of your taste for violence.

X-Box or Nintendo? It depends of your taste for violence.

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I am not a big fan of violent video games, so clearly I’m not about to support a company that produces a product that feeds into real life armed conflict. The question is not about which company makes the most violent video games, and the X-box or Nintendo question is no longer about which has the better graphics.  It’s about which company has a conscience and how much it bothers consumers that people across the world may be harmed in the making of the toy they are about to buy.

The Enough Project’s Raise Hope For Congo campaign wants to raise consumer electronics awareness in time for the Black Friday shopping frenzy. According to the  Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List  they have released the X-Box is the clear choice in this selection.  The consumer electronics products we use daily rely on certain minerals to function, the source of those minerals in some areas fund violent conflicts that have lasted decades. Companies are aware, and some have acted responsibly to make sure the resources they purchase are not part of the problem.

I only learned the truth about Conflict Minerals when listening to Photographer Marcus Bleasdale give his incredibly powerful National Geographic presentation at the Social Good Summit in NYC this past fall.  The images he showed opened my eyes to the source of elements of the very cell phone in my hand.  Suddenly I was connected to those people in the photographs.

Over 5.4 million dead. Over 2 million displaced. Congo is home to the deadliest conflict since World War II.-www.enoughproject.org

I can honestly say I never thought I’d feel the emotion of gratitude when thinking about my son’s X-Box habit, but now that I know what I know,  him playing the X-Box compared to the Nintendo, is a relief.  Turns out  according to the research done for the rankings, Nintendo is the worst company, dead last,  in terms of accountability along the supply chain. Basically, they don’t care where they get them, or who gets hurt along the way, as long as they can make and sell their products. Microsoft, the maker of the X-Box, on the other hand has a green light ranking on  The Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List   marking it as one of the companies that has taken proactive steps to trace and audit their supply chains, pushed for some aspects of legislation, exercised leadership in industry-wide efforts, and started to help Congo develop a clean trade.

Our consumer dollars give us the power to hold the quality of  lives of others in our hands. I am not talking about crushing fellow customers in the black Friday rush into Wal-Mart here.  I am talking about becoming aware of how things are made,  and choosing to be a conscientious consumer .  When we have money to spend, we can choose to spend it on those companies who are actually making a positive impact in this world, as opposed to those who are just out to make a buck.   You can see how the companies you are planning to buy from are rated here in this chart and then purchase accordingly, yes we do have a say in what goes on across the world. Our consumer dollars speak volumes on these issues, and the pressure on companies to take responsibility has turned the tide of the conflict in the Congo.

Last week, Alysha Atma of the Atma Foundation put it beautifully. We were on a conference call with ONE, ENOUGH Project, and JWW, all organizations working towards, preventing genocides, improving accountability and transparency from governments, and large companies.  Alysha told us she was inspired to make a difference by her young son, when she realized that every action has a personal story behind it.  she explained;

“He inspired me to put dinner table talk into action. I realized that every day is an opportunity to give back. I wanted him to learn that a responsibility comes with the good fortune of him having been born here.”

I love that sentiment, every day is an opportunity to give back. So what can we do?

-Share the message on Social Media to help raise awareness about the issue.

-Use the power of your consumer dollars wisely and with good conscience by check the The Conflict Minerals Company Rankings List  before you buy so you know if you want to support that company or not.

The Raise Hope For Congo movement needs your help to increase demand for conflict-free electronics products. As a consumer, you can influence electronics industry leaders as they weigh whether or not to invest in making their supply chains transparent and producing verifiably conflict-free products. Tell companies that if they take conflict out of their products, you’ll buy them.

-Send an e-mail right now to electronics companies letting them know you care where they source their materials.

-Get involved in campaigns with organizations such as Enough, JWW, Atma Foundation and ONE that are working towards conflict free products in the Congo.

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Christy Turlington Burns Is My Girl Crush

Christy Turlington Burns Is My Girl Crush

Christy Turlington Burns is my girl crush because today she ran the New York City Marathon for mothers everywhere.

Christy Turlington BurnsIt’s not just because I grew up flipping through the pages she graced in fashion magazines.  Not just because she married Ed Burns, who is the totally hot and  amazingly talented Director & Actor. Or that she perfected her yoga practice, along the way producing a line of conscientiously made yoga gear. It is because she then went on to champion for mothers around the world with Every Mother Counts. After her own frightening experience during childbirth Christy became aware that her scenario could have been fatal, as it is for many women globally without access to the quality healthcare she had been provided. Every year hundreds of thousands of women die during or due to childbirth, mostly from preventable causes.

I have a girl crush on Christy because today she and her Every Mother Counts Team #RunEMC ran in the New York City Marathon to raise money for maternal health with the tag line, “we are running so other mothers don’t have to”.   And I think that is AMAZING. Recently I ran the FEED 10k and barely made it across the finish line, I can’t imagine the strength and dedication it takes to run a marathon!

This photo posted on Facebook the other day stopped me in my tracks.

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It made me think, this is why I do what I do, and I want to do more.  It made me think about the organizations I know who posted this photo, Maternova and Flight For Every Mother, of  Clean Birth Kits, and of Every Mother Counts, and Christy running the marathon. All for the sake of preventing a mother from losing her life while giving birth to another.

Why do we run?  Every Mother Counts participates in the NYC Marathon annually and other running events throughout the year to raise awareness about the impact distance and lack of transportation have on maternal mortality.  Whether it’s a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon these familiar racing mile-markers represent common distances pregnant and laboring women must travel in many parts of the world to reach basic and emergency healthcare services. Most of the time, they travel these distances on foot.  When roads are un-passable, transportation is unavailable and distances are too far, countless women go without prenatal care or skilled assistance at birth and far too often, the results are dangerous and tragic. Distance is the leading contributor that kills almost 300,000 women per year from pregnancy and childbirth-related conditions.-EMC Website

Here is the exciting thing, even though we didn’t run the marathon today, (I actually just got out of my pajamas), this month by downloading and using my favorite App, Charity Miles we can all participate in team Every Mother Counts. Charity Miles donates 25 cents for every mile we run or walk, so if we each do just one mile a day or a collective 26.2 miles by the end of the month, you will have generated enough funding to provide transportation for a mother in labor or in trouble to the hospital in Uganda. That or you can join the team and/or donate to the Every Mother Counts CrowdRise Page.


 

Congratulations to the Every Mother Counts Team for running the NYC Marathon while inspiring and helping mothers around the world. I’ll be running my #CharityMiles with you this month.

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

Cooking With Kids; ChopChop Invites You To The #BigPicnic

ChopChop Big PicnicParsnip and Dill, I tell my kids. Those are my secret ingredients for delicious chicken soup. Well not my recipe I confess, but passed on to me by Grandma Nettie, Auntie Kimbo’s grandmother. They know that “Auntie” Kimbo is not really their aunt, and that her name is Kim (Kimberly but don’t tell her I told you!).  They also know that Kim and I have been friends since we were six, and somewhere Kim turned into Kimbo, as those things go with longtime childhood friends.

In any case, my kids and I love to cook together and it has been fun as they grow to watch them conquer more and more complex cooking tasks on their own. And by complex I mean my 10-year-old is up to the cracking the eggs into a bowl without bits of shell getting in. One of the most rewarding moments of motherhood so far was the birthday morning that I woke up to heart-shaped pancakes made for me by my 13-year-old daughter. My child had cooked for me , and that felt revolutionary.

I like to cook with them for the same reason that I like to keep a small (o.k. weed infested) garden in our backyard. I like for them to know where their food comes from. To understand the process of how what we put into our body is made, and that they can make food for themselves, it does not have to come in a package or be bought off a shelf. We had been big fans of the quarterly publication ChopChop Magazine for years, loving to try the healthful recipes and snack suggestions within its colorful pages. ChopChop is a non-profit  with the mission to inspire and teach kids to cook and eat real food with their families.

Currently, 1 out of 400 children under 18 in the U.S. has diabetes, and nearly 1 in 3 is obese. ChopChop’s goal is to reverse this trend by teaching kids and their parents how to create healthy, delicious meals that are easy to prepare and use fresh, nutritious ingredients. ChopChop doesn’t demonize particular foods or use scare tactics. They just offer simple, healthy, and affordable recipes for children and parents to make together.

When we found out ChopChop had come out with a  ChopChop cookbook  we were thrilled.   We were sent a copy as a lead up to our participation in The Big Picnic, and when we received our copy of the cookbook  I had the kids pick out a recipe for us to try.  With four kids coming to a consensus can be challenging to say the least, this time somehow they all enthusiastically agreed that they wanted to make Matzo Balls to add to Grandma Nettie’s Chicken Soup.

The ChopChop Cookbook is made for kids so it is easy for them to read and follow the well explained simple recipes. Personally I never knew I could make Matzo balls, so to find them so easy to make surprised me. Of course the kids all wanted to crack the eggs so I was grateful that the recipe they chose called for 6! Of course rolling the Matzo balls was the most fun, but watching them fluff up as they cooked came pretty close.

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Inspired by National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month in September, The Big Picnic is being hosted on September 22nd by ChopChop and partner organizations including The White House as a virtual community picnic in which families across the country will cook and eat together at their own picnics. It will be a fun event with a serious goal: preventing childhood obesity.  Who doesn’t love a picnic!?! They are a great way to remind us that cooking and eating healthy food together is lots of fun—a time to share and enjoy. This event is all about good food and good company!

You can join The Big Picnic however you like, spread out a blanket , eat at a picnic table – outside or in. Invite friends, family,  neighbors, and make it as simple or as elaborate as you want. Take pictures or video and share with the hashtag #bigpicnic, and as a participant you will be eligible to win prizes like subscriptions to the magazine, a copy of the  ChopChop cookbook or other fun surprises. We’ll be there, eating our Matzo Ball Soup!

You can also Enter to Win a ChopChop cookbook and a one-year ChopChop Magazine subscription Below!
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This is an original post written by me as part of a program with The Mission List. I received a ChopChop cookbook + magazine subscription for culinary inspiration; as always all opinions are my own.

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