This post is part of the Relay for Kids in partnership with SOS Children's Villages. Each time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) to support children worldwide affected by crisis. Scroll to the bottom to find out more.
I have two daughters. They are 16 and 14. I am living a life of an impending transition where my girls will be off to college or off to travel the world -- whatever they choose. I know that we have raised children with smarts and brains and I trust them to be intelligent adults, but more importantly, I greatly expect them to understand what is going on beyond their purview. I tell them that, like me, they are lucky to be born in the United States where they can make their own choices.
The U.S. isn't perfect. We all know this, but I know that my girls can do whatever they set their minds to without stagnant cultural gender barriers in their way. Yes, we have a long way to go, but as a mother who travels the world, I am thankful for this.
As aforementioned, I travel the world and I see a lot of children. Ask anyone who knows and travels with me and they will say that if I could, I would spend all of my time abroad with children. Children are special people on the Earth. It sounds ridiculously cliché, but it is true. Children come into this world relying on us to do right by them. But, circumstances sometimes impede that. I get it. Life isn't always sunshine and rainbows for adults and also for children. In fact, life is harrowing for millions of children who live in countries that are mired by armed and civil conflict. We wake up every day and don't understand that life, and we're not expected to -- but there are children who live in the midst of crises who just want to go to sleep peacefully at night.
We have to do the most we can to do right by children. Every child has a soul and a future, and we cannot rob them of what they can become if given the opportunity to not only survive in bad situations, but also thrive. Many children will not make it to their 5th birthdays because of preventable diseases, most of which are completely preventable -- like stopping child deaths from pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria.
Global NGOs are doing the best they can to help children survive, but it is incumbent upon us, as parents and advocates, to continue to sound the alarm that children are also living in crisis situations even as I write this. There is a child right now trying to figure how he will eat and how he will feed his younger siblings. Right now, there is a child trying to figure out how to hide herself and her siblings in the bush away from those who will do them harm. Right now there is a child who is making the choice between becoming a part of armed conflict or flatly refusing to do so.
No one wants children to figure out how they will survive, and yet it happens every day.
Even outside of crisis situations, children who do not have a home or a family are in constant need of help. I have seen children like this who do not have families to rely upon, and I have also seen incredible efforts to help these children in need.
I want to be as candid as I can and say that I have seen children in SOS Children's Villages (SOS), and I know they do fantastic work. Children live in homes with gardens and a house mother who provides care. They go to school and receive an education. They are safe. This isn't possible for every child who needs help and it's heartbreaking, but SOS provides the utmost care for many children who need it.
Let's not only sound the alarm for children in need, but also for the NGOs that believe in helping children who do not have a family. This is especially critical in West Africa where children have been orphaned because of the Ebola crisis.
By sharing, you make a difference for kids in crisis: From March 23 until April 24, each time you 'like' or share this post via the social media icons above or comment in the section below, Johnson & Johnson will trigger a $1 donation (per social action) to SOS Children's Villages, the world's largest organization dedicated to orphaned or abandoned children, up to $30,000*. $1 provides food, shelter and medical care to a child in crisis. In addition, you can also Donate A Photo** and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for SOS Children's Villages -- you can help raise up to $20,000 in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone.
Johnson & Johnson, SOS Children's Villages and The Huffington Post created the Relay for Kids to support children around the world who have been affected by poverty, conflict, disease and natural disasters. Visit www.sos-usa.org/relayforkids to learn more.
*Blogs must be shared between March 23 to April 24, via Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, reddit, Tumblr and Google+ from the Huffington Post. Each share will trigger a $1 donation up to $30,000. There are no limits on how many times you can share a post.
** via the Donate A Photo app for iOS and Android. Johnson & Johnson has curated a list of trusted causes, and you can donate a photo to one cause, once a day. Each cause will appear in the app until it reaches its goal, or the donation period ends. If the goal isn't reached, the cause will still get a minimum donation.
Editor's Note: SOS Children's Villages is a partner of Johnson & Johnson, which is a sponsor of The Huffington Post's Global Motherhood section.