This post is brought to you by our partners at the American Heart Association as part of the #FamilyIsWhy program,
but all opinions expressed are my own.
One of the things about becoming a mom is that the world around you suddenly seems to matter so much more. Things like pollution in our environment, the wholesomeness of our foods, the quality of education and the images represented in the media feel critical — because those things are all influencing our children’s impressionable minds and bodies. Maybe you’re not really a political person and feel more comfortable staying in the shadows. Well, there are steps — big and small — that you can take towards making a difference.
- Be Informed It seems obvious, but knowing the facts is the first step towards making changes. While TV, newspapers, websites might be the starting point, don’t forget other sources of information. These days, there’s a plethora of blogs covering all sorts of niche topics, some which might be very specific to your community or particular concerns for your family (such as food allergies, learning disabilities, cultural concerns). And do you know what your government is doing? Most public agencies, from the PTA to the legislature, post agendas and minutes of their meetings online because it’s your right to know what elected officials are doing.
- Be Active For many parents, some of the biggest issues are the ones closest to home. What’s on the curriculum at your child’s school? Do they have healthy options for lunch? Are they getting enough physical education or recess? Besides, there’s the PTA, remember school board meetings, principal’s coffee hours. Concerned about public safety or laws in your community? Get to know your representatives, from the water board to the county supervisor. Focused on the national level? Reach out to your senators or congressional representatives.
- Start Small Even small steps, such as volunteering at a community garden or non-profit group can have big returns. It helps you get comfortable with the idea that you can make a change and also puts you in the loop to understand what’s going on, who makes the decisions, and how you can influence them. People I know have managed to effect changes, such as making their school cafeterias safer for children with food allergies or getting speed bumps installed on a busy street.
- Be Social Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, blogging or another platform of choice, social media is powerful. Get involved in Twitter parties involving nutrition and health. Remember the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite? Started by a mom in her living room. What about #WeNeedDiverseBooks? Again, started by a small group of authors — many of them parents. I’ve been so inspired by the bloggers and hashtag activists I know.
- Think Big I’ve been invited to the White House for discussions about health and social causes, such as children’s fitness and gender representation. I’ve been to Congressional hearings about immigration reform. I’ve worked with the White House AAPI Initiative to prevent bullying of Asian American youth. I feel blessed to be a citizen of a nation we have the freedom to participate in our government and our voices can make a difference.
What are the causes near and dear to you? How do you advocate in your community?
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of American Heart Association and The bLink Marketing Network. The opinions and text are all mine.