Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A day of doing good with Save The Children and Jennifer Garner

Today, I got to help out kids in need, teach my little girl about doing good, meet one of the people who runs Save The Children, chat with Jennifer Garner, hang with some lovely mom bloggers and—bonus thrill!—stand in a building lobby and argue with Sabrina about her tights and shoes.

Lately, I've been thinking about how I can teach the kids what it means to help other people, so I was glad to get invited to this event. Max wouldn't have done well with all the hustle and bustle, so our babysitter met me there with Sabrina. She immediately demonstrated that she understood the true spirit of the day with this declaration: "I don't WANT to wear tights! And I want to wear SNEAKERS NOT SHOES! And I WANT to take them OFF!" We talked a little bit about her uncharitable tone of voice, then I removed her tights right then and there in the lobby, shoved them into my bag and we got on with the day.

First, a nice lunch and mingling with Colleen from Classy Mommy, Audrey from Mom Generations, Lisa from New York Chica, Jennifer from Savor The Thyme, Vera from I'm Not Obsessed, Winnie from Healthy Green Kitchen and Kate from The Parsley Thief. I can't remember all of their kids' names, but they were cute, particularly so since none of them were badgering their moms about their legwear.

Sabrina, at her most charming.

The kids painted plates. Sabrina is very creative about coloring and Jennifer Garner, who's totally sweet and real, noticed.

Jennifer: "Wow! That's a great design!"
Sabrina: [silence]
Jennifer: "Oooh, I can see you made dots inside your dots over there, how did you do that?"
Sabrina: [silence]
Me: [OMG]

Then it was time for the heart of the event. Here's Mark Shriver, Senior Vice President of US Programs for Save The Children, explaining what we were about to do as Jennifer Garner and Marty O'Gorman, the general manager of Frigidaire (props to them for their $250,000 commitment), stood by.

Afterward, parents and kids filled snack boxes with pretzel sticks, granola bars and bottles of water.
Sabrina: "But I don't LIKE pretzels!"
Me: "Honey, remember what we spoke about? They're not for you, they're for kids who need food."
Sabrina [showing a streak of altruism]: "What if they don't like pretzel sticks? Can we get them French fries?"

Jennifer, clearly a woman who likes a challenge, stopped by our station.

Jennifer: "Hi! You made that nice plate! What's your name?"
Sabrina: [silence]
Jennifer: "OK, I'll guess! Is your name...Purple?"
Sabrina: [giggle]
Jennifer: "Is your name...Freckles?"
Sabrina: [giggle]
Jennifer: "OK, what's your name?"
Sabrina: "SABRINA!!!!!!!!!!"
Jennifer: And how old are you?
Sabrina: "FIVE!!!!!!!!!!"

Score one for Jennifer! We joked about little-girl birthday parties and the perils of the princess phase, and then Jennifer kept mingling.

Tonight, Sabrina and I continued the conversation about helping out other kids. First, we went to Frigidaire to set a place at their virtual kids' table. Each time you do, the company will donate $1 to help get children access to nutritious food (you'll also be entered to win prizes). Then we put some money into the tennis-can fund we recently started for charity.

Sabrina is still interested in getting kids' French fries. Meanwhile, I'm going to look into the possibility of taking the kids to pitch in at a soup kitchen or shelter; I called a few last year around the holidays, but they said Sabrina was too young.

It was a very, very inspiring day; I know it had an impact on Sabrina, too.

And I suspect Sabrina left a lasting impression on Jennifer Garner.


  1. Sweet post, even with Sabrina's "attitude" with the stars. It is nice to hear you say nice things about a famous and beautiful person, and so refreshing after all the crap about them in the magazine stands. I's nice to be nice to the nice!

  2. I have a lot of respect for JG; I think she's managed to stay grounded in spite of fame. I LOVE that she wasn't afraid to get in their with your little princess, too! LOL.

    OMG, the pic of Sabrina's 'tude nearly made me fall off my chair laughing.

  3. I think every five year old girl has that face. :)

  4. My special needs daughter and I recently took a great trip to the beach. However, with a special needs child, I know that taking a vacation can be stressful to think about. I just found this great resource, with advice for trip planning, and thought you’d like to review it!

  5. You are really inspiring as a person and as a mom.

  6. Ellen - I was honored to be able to spend time with you and smack elbows at our station

  7. Saving the Children is great and all, don't get me wrong...but JENNIFER FREAKIN' GARNER!!!!!


  8. You're life is so interesting and exciting!

  9. LOL! I love Sabrina! :) JG seems really nice too.

    I also think it's important to teach kids about caring for others, and it's never too early to learn. :) For Bertrand's last birthday, we asked guests not to bring a gift but, if they wanted to bring anything, to bring canned food, especially non-perishable baby food. We got a pretty good haul and then donated the cans to a local women and children's shelter. I coupled this with reading books to Bertrand about food, mommies and babies. We both got a lot out of this. :)

    Obviously, Bertrand's case is different that the average child's case. (A) He doesn't care about gifts (B) Most gifts would be inappropriate for him anyway. But, with some imagination, any occasion can become an opportunity for giving. :)

  10. I think that was my favorite age... The things she would come up with! Mom's used to say, "I don;'t know how you let her out of the house in that!" Well... I'm not wearing it! She is!
    And it's the same with my boys to a lesser degree!

    What a fun event. Sabrina is smart and observant... I like the way she made Jennifer Garner work for it!

  11. Too too funny. I bet Jennifer appreciated Sabrina's honesty.

  12. I am so jealous...Jennifer is my FAVORITE!! I just know we'd be best friends if we could just meet. :) So glad you had a great time!I think it's cute that Sabrina was unimpressed by such a celebrity.

  13. God might impress Sabrina if they were ever to meet in person, but that's about it.

    Oh, and about my "interesting" and "exciting" life? These events are fantastic, but do not be fooled. Last night I came home, ate breakfast cereal for dinner and was up till 12 doing laundry and dealing with something called a chalazion that has cropped up on my right eyelid. It's an angry red bump and basically looks like I am growing a third eyeball.

  14. That was me that wished that chorizo (sp?) on you for getting to hang out with a movie star!


Thanks for sharing!

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