In youth-centric Hollywood, birthdays are sometimes met with mixed emotions. But I've found the best way that anyone can embrace any birthday is to remember how fortunate they are to be growing another year older and use it as an opportunity to give back.
That's why this year I'm Giving Up My Birthday - happily and readily - for children in need by supporting the nonprofit World of Children Awards in their tireless efforts to improve the lives of children worldwide.
Around the globe, a staggering number of children have precious few birthdays at all. The numbers are truly heartbreaking - each year more than ten million children won't even reach their fifth birthday because they will die from preventable causes like treatable illnesses or a lack of clean water.
That's why the World of Children Awards' work is so extraordinary, and so needed. Dubbed by the media as the "Nobel Prize© for Child Advocacy," the World of Children Awards searches the globe for extraordinary individuals who are spearheading organizations that dramatically improve childrens' lives and amplifies their efforts by providing vital funding and recognition to expand their impact.
Among the changemakers for children honored by the World of Children Awards are:
- Ryan Hreljac, who at age 12 led a successful campaign to bring fresh water to rural Africa;
- Dr. Mark J. Manary, MD, whose "Project Peanut Butter" initiative is preventing African children from dying of starvation through the creation and dissemination of nutritious, easy to access peanut butter;
- Inderjit Khurana, whose pop-up schools that sit directly on India's railway platforms and provide India's poorest street children with access to education;
- Talia Lehman, whose RandomKid.org is empowering kids to accomplish incredible projects to benefit children worldwide; and
- Jessica Markowitz, who founded Richard's Rwanda to ensure Rwandan girls receive the education they deserve in a safe and nurturing environment.
These remarkable individuals and others like them are the reason I've chosen to serve as an Ambassador for the World of Children Awards and they need support for their remarkable work far more than I need birthday gifts. In a world of gift bags and star treatment there is not one more thing I need or want. I am the luckiest girl in the world and I would like to celebrate the good fortune I have in growing another year older by giving back.
So with my birthday fast approaching, I'm asking friends and family to give a gift to World of Children instead of to me. Each of us can and should give back in this world when we can and birthdays are an opportune time to experience how giving to others can be a tremendous gift to ourselves.
To share a birthday donation in my name, please visit my birthday page, click on my name and offer a donation when you click on the brown button. Together, let's make a real difference for vulnerable children.