A mother is many things to many people. Mom is a soft place to land when the trials of life overwhelm us, a fount of wisdom, a hard-working role model, a home-cooked meal. Growing up, my mom was certainly all of these things for me.
When I was a young teen, my parents took me to visit poverty-stricken communities in my hometown of Detroit, MI. It was their way of giving me a crash course in philanthropy, and I learned a lot from those visits.
It's important to remember that children and youth are the most vulnerable populations in these crises. At critical developmental stages in their lives, they process violence and trauma in a profoundly different way than do adults.
Protecting and nurturing children is absolutely vital to a more prosperous future and a world free of poverty, violence and inequality. But we can make a difference only when everyone gets involved to support change.
Something important happened to you right after you were born. You don't remember it, but your parents do. You got a birth certificate. That is such a simple act -- like flicking a switch and having a light come on -- that we forget how complex it is.
Boko Haram's deliberate plan to sow chaos throughout the country has devastated the lives of many Nigerian children. And the destructive extended effect of the tragedy means that its impact will reach far beyond the lives of the kidnapped girls.
A day dedicated to mothers is beautiful. And, we need to realize that there are still 17.9 million orphaned and abandoned children who need mothers of their own. These children may never have the opportunity to grow up in a loving, stable home.
There are some things we now understand about human development. Besides the need for food and water and basic shelter, we humans are all the same in one fundamental way: we need to know love and be loved.
From Cairo to Kiev, from Washington to Juba, women have been at the forefront of changing history. Like so many others, we celebrate International Women's Day, but we do so with an eye toward the women of the future.
We need strong collaborations across the child welfare and education systems, we need to reconsider the roles of these systems in working with vulnerable students, and we need policies and funding that support these collaborative efforts.