(This post is the first in a series about my experiences with Shot@Life, a program of the United Nations Foundation.)
The whole premise of this blog is that I “do Stuff”, right? So let me tell you about something that I did earlier this month.
I was recently invited to attend the 2013 Shot@Life Champion Summit in Washington, D.C. I attended as a representative of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, a partner of Shot@Life, and, while I knew that Shot@Life’s motto was that “every child deserves a shot at a healthy life, no matter where they live”, I did not know how much I would end up falling in love with this program while sitting in a hotel conference room for three days.
First of all, let me introduce you to the facts.
Measles mortality has decreased 71% globally. Polio is on the brink of eradication. Vaccines that protect children from pneumonia and diarrhea are currently being distributed around the world saving 2.5 million children each year. Awesome!!
One in five children still lack access to vaccines – life saving vaccines. One child dies every 20 seconds from a vaccine-preventable disease.
There is no Ugly, by the way. So let’s get back to the good: There are ways that you and I can help! (YOU are why there is no Ugly.)
How awesome is this? One of my favorite things that Shot@Life does at their events is allow people to hold up a board that says, “I want to give a child a shot at:______”, and the person can fill in whatever they want. Favorites that I have seen: a first kiss, learning to ride a bicycle, a first date, being a messy eater, and world domination. Bring awareness to this issue by helping people really identify with children in other countries that might otherwise be unfamiliar to your audience. Is a child in India any different than a child in America? Absolutely not! All children want to be happy and to enjoy all the “firsts” that come with being a child. All children deserve a Shot@Life.
Other ways to blurt about how awesome childhood is? Write an entry on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and so on, detailing why childhood is so important to you, then reference Shot@Life. Challenge your friends to “pass it on” to their page. Create some positive vibes out there in the blogosphere.
Invest in Childhood!!
Here’s an awesome fact: $20 will help immunize a child from pneumonia, diarrhea, measles, AND polio! $20!! To be honest, I blow this kind of money on Starbucks each month. And snack food. And junk for my kids. And all kinds of things that I don’t need. (MAMA THOUGHT – If I don’t buy my kids so much stuff, I don’t have to clean up so much stuff. Hmm.) But check this out – it costs $100 to treat a child who falls ill from vaccine-preventable diseases. Which is cheaper – vaccination or treatment? Your $20 goes a long way to effectively cut future costs. Vaccinations are less expensive!
There are a number of ways in which each of us can put aside more of our own personal money to donate to good causes, such as Shot@Life, but I’d like to think Outside of the Box. “Hold A Fundraiser” sounds like…yawn…..blah blah blah….. So don’t. Hold a dessert party and invite all of your friends to try your best desserts for a $1 a scoop. Invite people to do something COOL and FUN, not YAWN and BORING. Make it personal, too. Do something you love. Love to cook? Feed people for a donation per plate. Love to sew? Scrapbook? Bedazzle? Teach people how to craft in awesome ways for $5. Love to read books? Have people sponsor you for a penny a page. And I’m telling you, surely there is a way to use the theme of “A Shot” in combo with your favorite…um…drink, right? Like I said, make it FUN.
Stand up for Childhood!!
Sign Shot@Life’s petition at http://www.Shot@Life.org/advocate. Write a letter to your local media people – newspaper, tv, community blog sites, retirement center newsletters, and so on. Spread the word! And then keep spreading further by contacting your Congresspeople and urge them to support US funding for global immunization programs. You can go really crazy and speak up at local schools, businesses, community groups, events, WHATEVER. Knock yourself out.
Still not sold? How about this cold-hard fact. Disease is only a plane ride away, folks. The people on this planet are no longer so seperate anymore. One sick person hops a flight to wherever – your home town? and that’s all it takes for disease to spread. It is in EVERYONE’S best interest to vaccinate and eradicate diseases. EVERYONE benfits.
“Disease eradication is the ultimate in sustainability. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for everyone.” – Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH, Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Administrator, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry