Help Nordstrom Give 40,000 Back-to-School Shoes to Kids in Need

This year from August 11 through October 15, Nordstrom customers can get involved in its 12th annual Shoes That Fit campaign with a goal of raising $1 million and donating 40,000 shoes to kids in need. Each back-to-school season Nordstrom partners with Shoes That Fit and Nike to provide properly fitted athletic shoes to children in need in the communities it serves. This year’s campaign will mark 300,000 shoes donated since 2010.

Copyright: Nordstrom

Shoes are the most expensive item on kids’ back-to-school list. Every child wants to go back to school with shoes that are trendy and that fit. It gives them joy that most take for granted.

“Giving back to the community has been rooted in our 121-year history, since our beginnings as a shoe store. Helping to provide for the basic needs of children and families is core to who we are at Nordstrom. We’re excited to team up with Shoes That Fit and Nike to help kids start the school year feeling comfortable, confident and ready to learn.”

Jamie Nordstrom, chief stores officer at Nordstrom.
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World Vision Now Puts Child Sponsorship Into the Rightful Hands of Children

World Vision USA has embarked on a new twist on child sponsorship that is absolutely delightful. Traditionally how child sponsorship works is sponsors pick photos of children who live in poverty and need assistance. But now children get to choose their sponsors giving them a sense of empowerment and becoming a full part of the process.

World Vision USA started their Chosen program in Kenya and documented it in the beautiful video below. In fact, you can be a part of Chosen by signing up to be a child sponsor (it starts at $39 per month) and then uploading your photo. You can also be chosen by a child. Then your monthly donation is put into community programs for children. Sign up by October 6.

I enjoy seeing World Vision’s work in the Philippines when I traveled with them in 2016 and also love the new innovative they are now working with children. In fact, they are in Ecuador with their Chosen program. It’s awesome to watch.

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January Is Birth Defects Prevention Month: Are Local Health Departments Ready?

Q&A with NACCHO Board Member Sandra Elizabeth Ford, MD, MPH
Director of the DeKalb County Board of Health

A baby is born with a birth defect in the United States every 4.5 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Birth defects are defined as any structural changes present at birth that affect how the body looks, works, or both, and they can vary from mild to severe. While not all birth defects can be prevented, there are concrete steps pregnant mothers can take to increase the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby.  In honor of National Birth Defects Prevention Month, the CDC released a resource guide providing pregnant moms tips for preventing birth defects.

In addition to guidance provided by CDC, many local public health departments provide prenatal care for expectant moms. Below is Q&A with National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Board Member Dr. Sandra Elizabeth Ford, Director of the DeKalb County Board of Health in Georgia.  NACCHO represents the nation’s 3,000 local health departments.

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Can Fitbit Help Kids Gain Steps and Lose Weight?

Around 17 percent of American children from age 2 to 19 are classed as “obese”. That’s a level that has remained fairly steady over the last decade. And it’s growing.

Obesity is measured in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) – a measure that can be used to compare children in terms of their weight. BMI is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters. For children and teens, BMI is so age- and gender-specific that it is referred to as BMI-for-age. BMI levels among children and teens need to be expressed relative to other children of the same age and gender. Every child is different and that makes it difficult to generalize on something like this.

heart-rate-monitoring-device-1903997_1280Overweight is defined as a BMI at or above the 85th percentile and below the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender. Obesity is defined as a BMI at or above the 95th percentile for children and teens of the same age and gender.

To give an illustration, a 10-year-old boy of average height (56 inches) who weighs 102 pounds would have a BMI of 22.9 kg/m2. He would be considered obese because this calculation puts him in the 95th percentile for BMI-for-age. His BMI is greater than the BMI of 95% of 10-year-old boys in his “reference population”.

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Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey

I have worked with Save the Children in some capacity for the past five years whether seeing their work around the world, blogging on pro-bono campaigns or partnering as a consultant. That’s why I can personally vouch for the amazing work they do for the most vulnerable children who have experienced psychological trauma from all-too-routine natural and man-made disasters. Many people think Save the Children … Continue reading Why Save the Children Is Uniquely Suited to Help Kids After Hurricane Harvey

Finnish Fashion Designer Creates Maternity Wear for 12-Year-Olds to Highlight Worldwide Child Pregnancy

Child pregnancy is a worldwide blight. Seven million girls in developing countries under the age of 18 become pregnant every year meaning that they have to grow up too soon, put an end to their education, look for adequate healthcare that they can afford, earn money somehow, possibly marry a much older suitor, and figure out a life for her and her child. 11 percent of … Continue reading Finnish Fashion Designer Creates Maternity Wear for 12-Year-Olds to Highlight Worldwide Child Pregnancy

How World Vision Promotes Breastfeeding in the Philippines

I am always happy when World Breastfeeding Week rolls around each year. It gives me a chance to hear about the latest programs that are working around the world to increase breastfeeding rates. This year I learned about how World Vision is promoting breastfeeding in the Philippines through its 7-11 Core Intervention Framework which includes 7 interventions for women and 11 for children 0 – 24 months of age.

The way in which we discuss breastfeeding is different depending on the country and the context. While in the United States we talk a lot about infant feeding choices, in other countries, especially those that have thousands upon thousands of yearly infant deaths caused by diarrheal diseases, infections, and sub-optimal feeding, the context changes. In these cases, it is nearly always critical that mothers breastfeed their children up to two years of age.

In the Philippines, parents spend $240 million on breast milk substitutes and multinational formula feeding companies spend $100 million on marketing in the Philippines alone. Those numbers account for the fact that only 34% of infants under the age of six months are exclusively breastfed. While providing the best start in life for infants, many mothers are convinced that formula is better and easier for their lifestyles. But, often times women in low-and-middle-income countries like the Philippines do not always have access to clean water for formula. Dirty water can cause deadly diarrheal diseases that kill infants.

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How a Breastfeeding Initiative in Rural Kenya Changed Attitudes

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Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age.
Alissa Everett/Reuters

Judith Kimiywe, Kenyatta University and Elizabeth Kimani-Murage, Brown University

There’s a growing global recognition of proper infant nutrition in the child’s first 1000 days of life. This can be monitored through encouraging proper nutrition during pregnancy and the first two years of life for optimal growth, health and survival.

Poor breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices are some of the common causes of malnutrition in the first two years of life. Breastfeeding confers both short-term and long-term benefits to the child like reducing the risk of infections and diseases like asthma, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Mothers who breastfeed also lower their risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, weak bones, obesity and heart diseases.

For countries to reap the benefits of breastfeeding they need to achieve a baby friendly status. Kenya began promoting the baby friendly hospital initiative approach in 2002. It ensures that health facilities where mothers give birth encourage immediate initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months. Unfortunately, this programme was only accessible to women who delivered in the health facilities, leaving out those who give birth at home.

We conducted a two year study involving 800 pregnant women and their respective children in a rural area in Kenya. The study involved testing feasibility and potential effectiveness of the baby friendly community initiative (BFCI), whereby women in the intervention arm were given home-based counselling on optimal breastfeeding alongside health facility based counselling. These mother-child pairs were followed until the child was at least six months.

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Why 20 Million People Are on the Brink of Starvation and How You Can Help

It’s difficult to fathom that 20 million people are on the brink of starvation in Sub-Sharan Africa and the Middle East, but the statistic is true. In fact, the region is facing the largest humanitarian crisis in over seventy years and if no help is provided 1.4 million children are at risk of death. Not only is weather to blame for the lack of crops, … Continue reading Why 20 Million People Are on the Brink of Starvation and How You Can Help

[Featured Video] Simple Birth Kit for Mothers in Developing World

Women in low-and-middle-income countries need clean birth kits in order to stave off deadly infections in themselves and their newborns. This is the case not only during home births with midwives but also in institutionalized settings. Zubaida Bai, founder of Ayzh, a social enterprise that creates clean, safe birthing kits for women as well as reproductive, newborn and adolescent kits, discusses how she included women’s voices in … Continue reading [Featured Video] Simple Birth Kit for Mothers in Developing World

Dutch Company Now Offers Slave-Free Chocolate Bars in the US

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Tony’s Chocolonely

I love all kinds of chocolate. I love dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate, chocolate with caramel, chocolate with nuts, you make it and I’ll eat it. This company, Tony’s Chocolonely, however, has decided to make the delicious desert the right way. Until yesterday I had no idea there was still slavery in the world, and I definitely didn’t know slaves harvested cocoa beans in Ghana and the Ivory Coast to provide me with the sweet treat that I love so much. And to make it worse the slaves harvesting these cocoa beans are children! Can you believe that? It is 2017 and there are still people in the world who are treated like dirt so we can enjoy a small bar of chocolate that only provides a short period of happiness.

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Six Flavors of Delectable Chocolate

That’s why this new chocolate company I’ve discovered is so important. Teun van de Keuken, a Dutch journalist, discovered that large companies in the chocolate industry were buying cocoa from plantations that had child slavery which is unacceptable! He ate twelve chocolate bars and then decided to turn his back on the tainted sweets and created his own chocolate company to combat the cocoa slave industry. So Tony’s Chocolonely was born.

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5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine

In February the United Nations officially declared a famine in South Sudan. What is most disheartening about this most recent famine in the world’s youngest country is it’s largely man-made. Constant infighting among South Sudanese opposition forces and the government makes growing crops nearly impossible. And, the instability in the country continues to drive up food costs. 100,000 people are directly suffering from famine, and … Continue reading 5 Organizations to Support During South Sudan’s Famine

Three African Countries Chosen for First Malaria Vaccine Trials

For decades, there has been consistent chatter, research, and hope for a potential malaria vaccine. Now, all three are finally coming to fruition to roll out the world’s first clinical malaria vaccine trials. The World Health Organization Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) announced today that Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi have been chosen for the WHO-coordinated pilot implementation program that will make the world’s first malaria vaccine … Continue reading Three African Countries Chosen for First Malaria Vaccine Trials

WATCH: Ed Sheeran Visits Liberia for Red Nose Day

The Red Nose Day campaign to end child poverty returns in the U.S. on Thursday, May 25, in conjunction with a night of special programming and the third annual “Red Nose Day Special” on NBC.

One of the best ways to help vulnerable children in low-and-middle-income countries is by telling their authentic stories to those who can help make their lives a little better.

Along with Comic Relief, Ed Sheeran recently traveled to West Point, one of west Africa’s largest and most dangerous slums, in Liberia’s capital Monrovia. There he saw children whose lives have been routinely ravaged by poverty, the Ebola crisis, and an economy that was devastated by the notorious disease that killed thousands. Today, an estimated 14,000 children (some as young as seven) are living and working on Monrovia’s streets.

In Liberia, Sheeran shot a video set to “What Do I Know,” a track from Ed’s latest album Divide to bring awareness to street kids who live in Monrovia.

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How You Can Help Mothers and Babies in Syria’s Idlib Camps

War is suffocating every corner of Syria and has been for the past several years. In areas that are close to neighboring countries like Idlib province that borders Turkey, Syrians from all over the country are fleeing there for safety believing that those border regions won’t fall under severe air attack. Unfortunately, as we learned last week, that just is not the case. Chemicals, including … Continue reading How You Can Help Mothers and Babies in Syria’s Idlib Camps