This post is particularly timely for me because of all the unrest in the world right now. You see, when things get chaotic, and even scary, as they seem to do regularly these days, it has always been my way to focus on children. Children provide hope for the future. Helping children provides a guaranteed way to do good. Children are our most valuable commodity, so when everything else gets confusing, I know I can find peace and clarity if I focus my work on kids.
If you’ve ever spent any time with me, it is not news to you that I went to college in West Virginia. I practically scream it from the rooftops. Even though I only lived in Morgantown for 4 (and a half-oops) years, I have considered it home ever since. I’m not sure why it stuck so deep in my heart more than one would think an average college town would. Maybe it was the West Virginia history class that I had to take as an education major. I learned more about the traditions and the people of the mountain state then I ever knew about the one I grew up in.
What can I say? That coal country and the people who built it are hard to forget. Maybe it was my student teaching placement, in a school far more representative of the larger state than my little university town ever was. I was just a temporary teacher and they pulled me into that community as one of their own from almost my first day. They called me theirs, and I loved it. Whatever the cause, the simple truth is, I carry West Virginia in my heart no matter how many years I live away.
Save the Children is an almost 100-year-old global organization that has boots on the ground in every area where children are in need. They handle disaster response after natural and man-made disasters. They were among the first to tackle the Ebola epidemic because they were way ahead of the need for quality health care facilities in the hardest hit areas. Currently, they are front liners in the Syrian refugee crisis, providing basic needs to the most vulnerable.
In addition to their emergency work, Save the Children works on the every day emergency that is poverty. Save the Children has people in many areas of most need here in the United States, particularly, Appalachia, home of the land that I love. Here Save the Children works with mothers and children on early literacy, healthy choice nutrition programs and many other basic needs that ultimately help people pull themselves up to even a playing field that poverty works to keep off-balance for so many of our neighbors.
Sometimes, with this blogging gig, a few different elements combine to create the perfect scenario for me to get involved in. Such was the case last week when I was invited a guest of Johnson & Johnson to attend the charity ball for Save the Children. I love writing about J&J because they not only put so much financial assistance to worthy organizations like Save the Children, but they invest long-term in partnerships that truly make a difference.
It was clear from the minute I walked in that this is a partnership. It was hard to distinguish Save the Children staff from Johnson & Johnson staff. They were united in their desire to make the world better and all are heavily involved in some aspect. Whether it was the woman from J&J’s oncology R&D arm, who organized the members of her department for a day to build “save kits” to distribute in disaster areas or the CEO of Save the Children who is as hands on with the Save mission as one can get, every single person was committed to the partnership and all the good that comes from it.
J&J and Save the Children are both examples of groups that know what it means to try to change the world. They are more than just fundraisers and checkbooks. They are multi-pronged partnerships that invest for the long haul. Save the Children addresses the needs of our most vulnerable in times of crisis, but they also are at work every day to make our world better. Johnson & Johnson does more than just send money. They dig in, they stay put, they invest in permanent solutions because it is the right thing to do.
So what does West Virginia have to do with Johnson & Johnson and Save the Children? Well, Tuesday night’s gala was hosted by some of the most famous Mountaineers. Jennifer Garner, who is heavily involved in the Save work in Appalachia and a trustee of Save the Children, was our hostess for the evening and she invited Brad Paisley, whose recent gig right on Mountaineer field sealed his place in my eyes as a country music favorite, to be the musical guest. They were both wonderful additions to the evening and very gracious to everyone there, but they lit up on stage the most when talking about the work Save the Children does around the world.
No matter what side of the fence you’re on politically, or where your beliefs are as far as global events go, we can all agree that children are our future, so we must do what we can to make their world a better place. Johnson & Johnson commits to that through their work with Save. Just last Tuesday night, Joaquin Duato, Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals announced immediate funding of Syrian refugee assistance to the tune of 1.75 million dollars.
Jennifer Garner, Brad Paisley, Olivia Wilde and John and Hank Green were all present last week to show their support and even win awards for their charitable work with Save the Children. They have all committed to investing in kids. Now we can too. What better way to combat the chaos of our world then to invest in its children? Keep an eye out for ways to do so in an upcoming post. I promise I won’t keep this secret for long!
Disclosure. I am a proud Social Good Ambassador for Johnson & Johnson. I am so grateful for the opportunity they provided to attend this gala. All opinions are my own, including the gushing over my beloved WV. The opinion that Jennifer Garner is luminous and kind may just be universal.
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