When we went to Jamaica, I was profoundly moved by the juxtaposition of poverty and wealth. Huge mansions with rooms inside rooms inside thousands of luxurious square feet, right across the street from a family of six in a house no bigger than a shed. Made with particle board and sheet metal.
There are places like it all over the world. Whole countries worse off. Most of Africa, parts of Asia, and even here, right here in this oh so amazing country, America.
13.5 million children live below the poverty line in the US today. And we don’t talk about it. Teen pregnancies, and kids having to grow up faster than they should to take care of younger siblings….And it took a trip across the grand US, two planes there and two planes back, over the ocean and over Cuba for me to open my eyes. For me to actually see. For me to realize I can afford, in small ways, to help.
I’m not smart enough to administer medicine, or patient enough to grow organic food, but I can shop. And I can give love, and we all know I love kids. So, it only came naturally. I figured, why can’t I help give kids a shot at a decent childhood? A chance at hope, a small glimmer. A way for kids to let their imaginations soar, and feel loved, feel needed…for them to feel noticed.
So that’s what I am working on. Expanding myself. Having faith that I can make a difference in maybe one kids life, and let it be known that I tried. To give back, to our kids, to give them hope for a future, since it’s theirs’ anyway.
I remember feeling so ugly in the fifth grade because I didn’t have “cool clothes.” I got made fun of for my clothes, for always being in my head. I still played with toys and I read all the time, but I really did have a perfect childhood. I didn’t have to grow up so fast. I was told each day I was loved, through words and attention, with toys and praise. Not all kids get dinner each night, I get that. Nutrition, education and medicine are far more important, and right now, I can give none of that. But I can help them have good childhoods. And one day I’ll partner with a food organization or a medical facility. But for now, I am giving kids books, and toys and new “cool kid” clothes. And love. Every box I send, I vow to fill it with love.
Because every single child deserves hope. Ever single child deserves to know they are loved and important. And I am making it my personal life mission to tell them how much I love them.
Because children who thrive with love and affection, who have books to read to let their imaginations grow, with toys to love and play with, in clothes that fit and feel good, children who have basic kid things, grow up to be better people. It’s scientifically proven. And telling kids we love them with small gifts is a small start, but it’s a start none the less.
Today I spent 50 bucks, that’s all. (*it was a gift card) And I got amazing things for boys and girls. Long sleeved shirts, toys, and books. And I’ll find kids who need them, and I’ll give them these small things, to let them know. There’s at least one person in this world who is talking about it, who is giving love so kids can soar.
Give them love, show them you care, and they will soar.