Saturday night, Dave and I capped off our sushi date with a trip to the AT&T store, because we are nuts that way. Over dinner, I'd mentioned that I was thinking of giving up my BlackBerry, and he couldn't wait to check out iPhones. We bought one, and I'll be sending my BlackBerry to the Gift A Voice Project, which gives a voice to kids who are speech impaired via donated phones. A Facebook friend told me about it the day before.
It's just one small thing I can do, and I'm glad for it. I guilt myself out for not doing enough good in this world. I miss the weekly volunteer work I did in my twenties, before I had kids. I get so busy with Max stuff, general kid stuff and work that I don't have much free time to do local activities. And it bothers me. Charity may begin at home, but it shouldn't end there. Giving your husband foot rubs is not a humanitarian effort, even if he seems to think so.
This is why I was thrilled to be invited to a salon at Johnson & Johnson last week, along with 13 other bloggers, to talk about a few of the company's philanthropic programs and ways to use social media for social good. I ended up focusing on Text4Baby, through which moms-to-be can sign up for free reminders to improve their health and their baby's. I'm not sure how they knew that I am the biggest baby lover (although those posts about having a third kid might have given me away).
Text4Baby is geared toward low-income women, who typically lack Internet access and may have limited education and reading time. These women are more likely to not get medical care until their third trimester, or just completely go without it. Getting friendly reminders to not smoke or make sure their baby back-sleeps can make a significant difference in their lives and their children's; every year, about 28,000 children in this country die before their first birthday, and many more end up with major health problems because they were born prematurely or had a low birth weight.
If you tell a pregnant mom about this program, a mom who would benefit from it, it would be a simple way to do good, right? I'm hoping to. That's the way it goes—you want to help those in need in a big way, yet the reality is it happens one text, one gesture, and one donation at a time.
J&J didn't ask me to write any of this; I'm genuinely impressed by the programs they run that save lives, in this country and others. They are going to pay me a consulting fee for attending the salon, and I'm paying it forward: The money will go toward an iPad I'll give away here. I also got a $25 gift card that I spent at the company store, mostly on Johnson's Baby Shampoo; the kids have a lovely habit of dumping it out into the tub.
Have you done good lately that's made you feel good? I'd love to hear your ideas.