Tag Archives: education

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

When Moms + Social Good Come Together

IMG_7422
The first week of May I was in New York City for the 4th annual Moms + Social Good conference at the New York Times Center.  When Moms + Social Good come together, great things are bound to happen.  I gathered there with some of my “tribe”, like-minded friends from World Moms Blog, the United Nations Shot@Life campaign, and the Social Good world.  The one day event was hosted by The United Nations Foundation and Johnson & Johnson, with support from BabyCenter, Global Citizen, Fatherly, and Charity Miles. The goal of the Moms + Social event, in honor of Mother’s Day, was to highlight some of the greatest challenges women and children across the globe are facing today.

Mom+SG-Leith

The buzz word that came up in almost every panel and topic of conversation, whether the discussion was on the refugee crisis or the importance of global vaccines, was EDUCATION. The importance of education to rise above any circumstance was underlined again and again.

“For refugees we need to focus on quality #education for girls and women.”- Mari Malek

Mari Malek, Model/DJ/Advocate/Founder Stand4Education and former refugee

Mari Malek, Model/DJ/Advocate/Founder Stand4Education and former refugee

*******************************

 Save The Children usually conducts a State of the World’s Mother’s Report released around U.S. Mother’s Day, but the surprising statistics on maternal and child health in the USA in last year’s global report (The US ranked number 33 worldwide) inspired the compilation this year of The Shriver Report Snapshot: Insight Into The Resilient American Mother instead. The Save The Children special report was especially impactful to us as moms in the USA. The study polled 1000 mothers in the United States of various backgrounds. The findings were surprising.

  • Overall 85% of American mothers polled think that the US is becoming a worse place to raise a child.
  • Despite this alarming finding, almost all moms, also said they are optimistic about their future and their children’s future.
  • 6 in 10 said that the US business culture makes it “nearly impossible” to balance work and family.
  • The top stressors for American moms were bills and expenses.
  • American moms are conflicted whether technology and social media do more good than harm for their children.
  • When it comes to helping kids, American mothers overwhelmingly want the next president to focus on education.

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden had the opportunity to interview Save The Children CEO Carolyn Miles about the report. (go to World Moms Blog to find the interview soon!)

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden, interviews Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children at the Moms + SocialGood event in NYC on May 5th, 2016.

World Moms Blog Founder, Jennifer Burden, interviews Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children at the Moms + SocialGood event in NYC on May 5th, 2016.

****************************

Gene Gurkoff and Elizabeth Atalay

Gene Gurkoff and Elizabeth Atalay

I first met Gene Gurkoff,, Founder and CEO of Charity Miles, three years ago at Moms + Social Good. Charity Miles is an app that lets you donate to the charity of your choice when you work out, and I’ve been logging in my Charity Miles ever since.  In the mean time it had been exciting to watch his company grow and do more and more good in the world each year.

*********************************

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power led a panel where she spoke about working hard to take out Boko Haram, and the importance of education.  Just last month, Ambassador Powers was in Abuja, Nigeria visiting with the mothers of the Chibok Girls. There, she met fellow World Moms Blog contributor, Aisha Yesufu, at the sit in, and World Moms Blog Founder was excited to get the opportunity to tell her about the connection to Aisha, and our support for the moms in Chibok! 

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power with Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, at Moms + SocialGood in NYC May 5th, 2016.

US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power with Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, at Moms + SocialGood in NYC May 5th, 2016.

 

Ambassador Power a few weeks earlier in Abuja Nigeria side by side with World Mom, Aisha Yesufu! 

2016 Aisha Yesufu and Ambassador Power 600

*******************************

As good friend and fellow Shot@Life Champion Leader Ilina Ewen said on her panel, From local to global challenges: Focus on the whole child, “The sisterhood of motherhood is universal”. This is what keeps me coming back to Moms + Social each year. I believe in the power of mothers when we come together for a better future for not jus our own children, but for all the children of the world.

IMG_7470

Photo credit of Aisha and Ambassador Power to Aisha Yesufu.

Heifer Farm in New England And The Seven Ms

Heifer Farm in New England And The Seven Ms

 

 

IMG_6563

“Heifer International is a non-profit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending hunger and poverty and caring for the earth. Heifer currently provides livestock, trees, seeds and training in environmentally sound agriculture to families in 30 countries, including the United States. We work with smallholder farming families and communities because we believe they are key to feeding us all.”- Heifer International

Heifer International has been a favorite organization of mine for a long tim, but just last fall I learned that Heifer Farm, highlighting the organizations programs, is located just about an hour from where I live. After visiting on a Media Day with World Moms Blog in September I could not wait to bring my family back with me to share the experience. Last weekend I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so for their spring Pancakes At The Farm event.

Screen Shot 2016-03-11 at 1.25.48 PM

We sat down for pancakes bathed in Maple Syrup from the farm, and were later given a demonstration of how it was made in the Sugar House. The kids were delighted with the farm animals and asked our guide thoughtful questions about the organization. Specifically, what were the seven Ms?  Heifer International was founded by Dan West based on his experience as a relief worker. He realized the aid work he was doing needed a new model to help those in need become self-sufficient as opposed to continually reliant on aid. As a farmer he knew that a gift of livestock was a gift that would keep on giving. Cows provided the 7 Ms: milk, manure, meat, muscle, money, materials, and motivation.  A heifer refers to a pregnant cow, and in 1944 the first dairy cattle were shipped, and Heifer International born.

 

PicMonkey Collage

The goal of Heifer International is to help communities transform themselves through education, environmental stewardship, empowerment of women in the community, and the legacy of passing on generations of animals and knowledge. This in turn generates the accomplishment of the once recipient turning into a donor in their community. At Heifer Farm one can visit model villages from around the world. My family wandered through Peru, the Tibet region of China, Ghana, Kenya and Poland , each highlighting what a typical home would look like, the animals, and agriculture of each region. The farm offers fantastic camps and programs for all ages. I was disappointed to hear that the women’s Lambing Program was sold out already for this year, where women spend 3 nights assisting during the birthing of lambs at the farm with a focus on Heifer’s work to empower women around the world. I am thrilled to know this amazing resource is so nearby and encourage others to check it out. There may even still be spots this weekend at the Pancake breakfast.

PicMonkey Collage2

Join Malala and National Geographic

Join Malala and National Geographic

IMG_6188 copy

National Geographic Channel and 21st Century Fox Stand With Malala and You Can Too! On Monday, February 29th at 8:00 EST The Award Winning Documentary He Named Me Malala will air commercial free on the National Geographic Channel. Each time you tweet #WithMalala during the broadcast $1 will be donated to the Malala Fund.

Malala Yousafzai was only 11 when she began speaking and writing on the importance of education for girls and living under the oppression of the Taliban. At the age of 15 the world watched her amazing recovery after she was shot by the Taliban for speaking out. At 17 she became the youngest Nobel Prize winner in history and has shaped policy on the future of education for the children of the world. At this point she has joined the ranks of international celebrities who are known by just one name, Mandela, Bono, Malala.

My daughters and I have watched in awe as her journey has publicly unfolded, she has become almost mythical to us in her bravery, strength, and accomplishments, and even more endearing in her statements reminding the world that she is at the same time a “normal teenager”. Despite her modesty instead of representing “one of us”, she really represents the best of what any of us could become. The possibility of what each of us could achieve with her same vitality and determination.

IMG_1348

My girls!

We can’t wait to view the award-winning documentary He Named Me Malala this Monday night on the National Geographic Channel. It will be aired commercial free at 8pm Eastern Time. This movie is a must see, and my younger daughter will be hosting a viewing party to share the experience with her friends.

FullSizeRender-7

Our Viewing Party Kit!

Malala’s story resonates with so many across various planes. She illustrates the change that just one person can make in the world. As a young woman she is an amazing role model for our daughters.  Her example of bravery, her willingness to fight for the rights of others, and to overcome struggle with triumph is exemplary. In my mind she clearly exposes how fearful some cultures in the world are of an educated woman.  Just imagine the tip of the global power structure that would occur if girls grew up to be women who were as educated as their male counterparts. Imagine the global progress if those currently left out of the equation were included, and educated, and could fully contribute to society in more meaningful ways. At the moment sixty million girls around the world are out of school. In some cultures education is not permitted for females, while in others girls simply don’t have time for school because they must spend the day collecting clean water for their family.

Screen Shot 2016-02-26 at 12.31.23 PM

Whatever the reason, the world is missing out on the contributions and potential of millions of girls. Malala aims to change that. The Malala Fund was founded with the goal to ensure that every girl has access to 12 years of free, safe, quality primary and secondary education. Knowledge is power, which is exactly what is so frightening about it to some. It is time to empower the girls of the world with education, and you can help! Each time you tweet using the Hashtag #WithMalala during Monday’s broadcast of He Named Me Malala $1 will be donated to the Malala Fund. If Malala can accomplish so much as just one person, imagine what we can do together!

We received the viewing party kit as a blogger for this campaign.

How To Tell The Future

How To Tell The Future

UnfoldEva

At times wouldn’t we all love to know how to tell the future? No one knows exactly what the future may hold for them, but I am sure that I’m not the only one who wonders about it often. We learn that although we can’t predict what may happen, that what we do today will impact our tomorrows, we also learn that even then sometimes life has a way of changing the best laid plans! One thing we know for sure about planning the future is that when it comes to our kids, when we #InvestinChildhood, it pays off. According to Save the Children, kids  who are enrolled in Early Childhood Development programs are more likely to enroll in school, plan their families, become productive adults, and educate their own children than those who don’t.

Fortune favors the prepared mind.-Louis Pasteur

Infographic_31It has now been proven that early education is essential to help kids get on the right path in life. Not all children are born into the same opportunities, but if given the right tools, the playing field is leveled.  September is Bright Futures Month for Save the Children to champion the investment in childhood and provide children with the early learning essentials for a bright future. Given the right tools all kids can learn and thrive to their full potential.

It all begins at home. I am personally glad to know that the research now backs up those seemingly endless evenings when I tucked in each of my four children by reading them a book!

By the age of three children growing up in poverty without books will have heard an average of 30 million fewer words than their peers. As you can imagine they are starting off at a great disadvantage so that by the time they get into school they are about a year and half behind the kids who were read to. And they may never catch up.

The first five years of a child’s life are critical for building the foundations of success. By the time children reach five years old their brains are already 90 percent developed. If within those rapid years of growth children do not receive adequate care including being played with, spoken to, and read to, their social and emotional skills will likely be underdeveloped. Preschool is a lifesaver for the children who do not get those necessities at home, and it is Save the Children’s mission to help children in need get the early education  they need to succeed.Infographic_41

Save the Children’s Early Learning Platform, “Invest in Childhood” seeks to raise awareness among U.S. consumers of the early learning deficit that children living in poverty experience. By mobilizing our celebrity ambassadors, corporate partners and supporters, we shine a spotlight on this critically important issue to create a brighter future for children.-Save the Children

Last year during my interview with Save the Children Artist Ambassador Jennifer Garner  she talked about her visits with Save the Children to homes enrolled in the early education programs they support.

“When Save The Children rolls up and goes once a week to see them, they bring them books, they bring light, they bring life. And the main thing that I love to see is they bring encouragement for these moms.”-Jennifer Garner

We may not be able to project what the future will hold for us or our children, but it is within our power to prepare and lay down the foundations for them that we know can help lead to success.  We can also help to shape the futures of children in need by joining Save the Children to #InvestInChildhood by getting them the early learning essentials for a bright future. Together, we can help ensure that all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Equivalencies

A strong start is a child’s best chance for a successful future. Let’s invest in childhood today – giving children the best chance for a better tomorrow. Learn more here.

Tell your own future by downloading, printing and creating your own future teller for you or your kids!

What Does The Word #Lead Mean To You? Save The Children’s #FindTheWords Campaign

What Does The Word #Lead Mean To You? Save The Children’s #FindTheWords Campaign

ELiza

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other”-JFK

I am participating in Save The Children‘s #FindTheWords social media campaign to highlight the importance of early education for children. For this campaign I am 1 of 30 bloggers who will write on 30 words over 30 days as a way to symbolize the 30 million fewer words that children from low-income homes hear by the age of  3.

By age three, children from low-income homes hear on average 30 million fewer words than their peers, putting them 18 months cognitively behind his or her peers when they start school.  Around the world, if all students in low-income countries acquire basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty – Save The Children

The word I was assigned is:

LEAD

Leadership can sometimes come from the most surprising places. Thinks of Malala, known now by her first name alone, who has become a world leader just by standing up for her own beliefs. She was not afraid to break out of the mold and forge a new path towards what she believes in, and this is a case where the new path she forged is one that others chose to follow as well. Because she was being educated, she knew how important it was for her and other girls to continue to be educated.  Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools, and children who are not given the opportunity to learn from an early age are denied their full potential.   According to statistics provided by Save The Children 65% of young kids in need have little or no access to books.  More than two-thirds of poverty-stricken households do not possess a single book developmentally appropriate for a child under five.  And kids whose parents do not speak to them often and are not spoken to in an engaging, and supportive way are less likely to develop to their full intellectual potential than kids who hear a significant amount of child-directed speech.

Malala Yousafzai, Wikipedia Commons

Malala Yousafzai, Wikipedia Commons

Which in the case of Malala is exactly why there were those who did not want girls to be educated, because they know how empowering education can be.  As a parent I try to led by example, I know that learning and development for my kids is not just academic, but across all aspects of life, and I know that they will absorb what they see.  Personally I do not consider myself a leader, nor do I aspire to lead, yet I find myself on occasion in leadership roles. I’ve ended up advocating on Capitol Hill, acting as social director, sitting on various boards, as president of the PTA for my child’s school, and directing or producing media content.   It is a lot of leadership for someone whose first choice would not be to lead. That said, I am also distinctly not a follower.  Never have been, and what I think inspires me to step up into these positions is my belief that if you want something to happen, or something to change, you can not just sit back and wait for someone else to do it.  You need to make it happen. This is the same reason that I was eager to take part in the #FindTheWords campaign.   Society needs to be aware of the importance of early education for all children, and for the future of the community as a whole. Citizens who live up to their full potential are better able to contribute to society and to break the cycle of poverty. You can help spread the word as well!

What does the word LEAD mean to you?

You can enter to win $100.00 gift card by sharing this post, the campaign on social media, leaving a comment about what the word Lead means to you, or by taking a picture that represents the word LEAD to you and post it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. To be entered to win don’t forget to use the proper hashtags #FindTheWords #Lead and tag @elizabethatalay
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Save the Children provides kids in need with access to books, essential learning support and a literacy-rich environment, setting them up for success in school and a brighter future. Learn more about Save the Children’s work in the US and around the world HERE.