There are two times during the year when people are most reflective on their lives: New Year’s Eve and their birthday. My 30th bday is approaching in a short 11 days and I have begun to do just that. I started a mental list of all of the things and people for which I am grateful to God: my family, my husband, my son and soon-to-be second son, my home, my job, my friends. These 30 years have granted me more experiences, opportunities, and amazing relationships that I could ever imagine.
I have always been pretty sensitive to the needs of others, especially those who are most vulnerable such as children, the elderly and those with disabilities (why I became an occupational therapist in the first place). Becoming a mother has only magnified my empathy, especially for families with infants and young children. Weeks before he was even born, our son had an entire closet of clean clothes at his disposal, not to mention endless amount of fresh diapers, a cozy place to sleep, and enough food and milk to satiate him everyday. These essentials are luxuries to some families in poverty or in crisis. I was also born into challenging impoverish circumstances in the Philippines, but was saved from a life of poverty by two amazing individuals who adopted me as their child. I know where I could have been if it weren’t for them and the Grace of God.
Consider the mother of young children struggling to make ends meet just to clothe and feed them their next meal. Consider the family whose home has been destroyed by an earthquake or flood.
Natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey and Irma serve as a reminder of how vulnerable we all are to forces outside of our control. Thankfully our country is blessed with resources to absorb the impact of such setbacks and rebuild. Many developing nations around the world are not so fortunate. The mudslides in Sierra Leone that killed over 1000 people and the more recent deadly earthquakes in Mexico are a few heartbreaking examples. I’m struck by the images and videos of small children trapped under rubble and crying in distress, babies floating in plastic tubs being pushed through flooded streets to safety, and mothers and fathers clinging to their little ones as they stare at the remnants of their destroyed homes. It goes against my nature and my own identity to see such suffering and sit in my house with my happy toddler with good conscience. With our second child arriving any day now, I cannot imagine him being born into similar circumstances as these disaster victims. Prayers are powerful, but not enough without a tangible offering.
In this spirit, I’ve decided to “donate” my 30th birthday to a meaningful cause. Save the Children (StC) is a global humanitarian organization that provides goods, services and programs to families in dire need. Click HERE to learn more about their initiative and mission. There are few other reasons why I trust and love this organization:
- Almost Ubiquitous: Wherever there is a disaster in the world, Save the Children is usually there, on the ground, prepared and ready to respond. When crisis hits, they are often one of the first NGOs to send aid. For countries not in acute crisis but rather in continuous need, Save the Children has ongoing programs to combat chronic poverty and address health needs.
- Financial transparency and efficiency: 86% of their donations go towards their programs and services. Slightly over 5% goes towards administration and management. These are very encouraging stats and SC outperforms the efficiency of many large NGOs.
- Dr. Jill Biden, Chairwoman of the Board: As she stated in a press release, “I am very honored to join Save the Children, an organization whose mission so closely aligns with my life’s work – ensuring children have a strong start in life, an opportunity to learn and protection from harm”. The former second lady of the US representing SC, is a strong vote of confidence for the NGO.
- Headquartered in Fairfield CT: I tend to be biased towards my home state and I think it’s pretty cool that they are CT based.
Here are some of press releases from recent disasters:
God has placed this on my heart as a call to action, but I cannot do this alone. There is power in collective action, and I’m asking you to act. If you’ve been moved recent events but didn’t know where to start, here is your opportunity! Every dollar counts and there is no donation too small. My goal is to reach $1987 (in honor of my birth year). Please visit my fundraiser page and share it!! Many, many, many thanks for making a difference in someone’s life.