For Children in Need, No Gesture of Help Is Too Small

06/08/2015 09:00 am ET | Updated Jun 08, 2015
Naya Rivera

This post is part of the Global Moms Relay. Every time you share this post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action), up to $300,000, to four causes helping improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide: MAMA, Shot@Life, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Girl Up. Scroll to the bottom to find out more.

What are you most excited for as a new mother?

Naya Rivera: I am excited about everything! I've done so much in my life career-wise, and now I'm doing something even more fulfilling; something that is life-changing and an absolute miracle. I'm excited for new experiences as well as getting to relive old ones, by seeing the world through new eyes.

How has your family shaped you and your vision of the future?

NR: I didn't grow up with a lot of money. When we did get ahead a little, we were middle class at best. For a short period of time, my family was on food stamps. This all meant that paying for college was a huge struggle. Since I've become successful in my work, I have remained aware of the other side. I've lived in all these different realms and have a lot of experiences to draw from as I think about the kind of future I want for my child.

naya rivera

Share a story or moment that has influenced you from a role model in your life.

NR: I look to my mother as my greatest example. She had three kids and made every effort to ensure that we'd be successful and well-rounded as adults. I will definitely grab things from her parenting style -- my mom is my number one go-to resource. Growing up she really made a point of saying, "I am not your friend, I am your mother." This might sound harsh, and of course now we're best friends and I call her and tell her everything, but it was really important that she drew those lines and made it clear that her role was to give us rules and guidance to help us grow. It established respect and boundaries around our relationship. She wasn't just going to tell me what I wanted to hear, but what I needed to hear.

What do you wish for mothers both locally around you, and around the world?

NR: Being pregnant has really made me realize even more how powerful and important women are. We all say and think that, but I think that doesn't fully resonate until you become a mother and carry a child. I see people and think to myself, "Every single one of you was in someone's belly!" -- it's amazing. The cycle never stops.

We all have a responsibility to get creative about how to put less stress and pressure on mothers -- it's hard enough without having to think about having enough money to feed and educate kids. There is so much to bear when you just want to be a good mother. I wish the challenges weren't stacked so high against doing that critical job.

What kind of world do you want for your family in 2030?

NR: I dream about a future for my child where there really is equal opportunity. Right now, a small percentage of the population does overwhelmingly better than the rest. Like every parent, I hope my child can have the best chances. But I also want them to have the freedom to choose a path that is emotionally fulfilling as well. My parents were always really good about nurturing our talents and telling us to "do what you love no matter what." Just because a job pays you the most doesn't mean you should do it, especially if you'll feel empty at the end of the day.

I think a lot about college as a path to that freedom to choose. It's an opportunity that should exist for everyone. When I was trying to go to school, my biggest hurdle was paying for it. Everyone should have access to education and the opportunity to grow and improve their lives.

I also hope for a world with more empathy -- when we were going through tough times, and looking around to see what kind of help was out there, it was hard. We weren't homeless, but we were struggling, and there wasn't much there for us. I want to identify those gaps where there isn't any help, and see how I can help fill them.

What do you think we can all do to make this planet a better, happier place?

NR: I think the answer to that depends on each individual. There's something each of us can do, but you need to take action on what moves you and what you gravitate toward naturally. There are many charities that offer help and assistance in different areas. Also, depending on what your passion is, pick a family to help each year, or get involved in something like Big Brother, Big Sister. For kids in stressful situations, nothing is too small. As I have shared my own experiences with young fans, they've paid attention. Now being pregnant, I want to share that experience also. I want to find those points of connection with all mothers everywhere. We all just have to remember that every small step counts.

You share, they give: Each time you 'like' or share this post via the social media icons on this post or comment below, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 (per action) up to $300,000, to improve the health and wellbeing of moms and kids worldwide through MAMA, Shot@Life, U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Girl Up. $1 means one healthy birth in Ethiopia through UNICEF.

You can also use the Donate A Photo* app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 when you upload a photo for Girl Up or UNICEF, up to $100,000. You can help make a difference in seconds with the click of your mouse or snap of your smart phone.

Share this post with the hashtag #GlobalMoms, and visit to learn more. The United Nations Foundation, Johnson & Johnson, BabyCenter and The Huffington Post created the Global Moms Relay with a goal of improving the lives of women and children around the globe.

* 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.