Raising a Generous Generation
May 19, 2011
Just a few days ago, my husband and I were discussing the possibility of another military motivated move for our family. In evaluating the areas where we may be transferred to, we were discussing the various educational experiences our children have had over the years. One thing we have come to appreciate about the various schools they have attended is that students are consistently encouraged to uphold their civic duties and participate in community service.
My husband and I have always tried to encourage this from within our own family. Certainly my husband’s military service has enhanced our personal appreciation for all those that give of their time and their talents in service to others. While parents are, first and foremost, the most influential teachers a child will have, it’s important that our public schools reinforce these responsibilities.
I guess that’s why I was excited to hear that Amanda Peet, in her ongoing effort to advocate for immunizations, recently spent the day with New York City public school students. Throughout the month, the Nest+m (New Explorations in Science, Technology and Math) public school will host a series of competitions and other activities to help students raise money to vaccinate villages of children against one of the most contagious and deadly diseases — measles.
Amanda Peet, a mother herself, became involved in immunization advocacy when she partnered with Every Child By Two to create their Vaccinate Your Baby campaign. She then joined forces with the American Red Cross to raise awareness for the Measles Initiative. Her recent appearance at the Nest+m school is just another way that her celebrity status can lend itself to critical community involvement.
“This is just one example of how young people are making a difference,” Peet said. “I commend young people throughout the U.S. for joining the cause and helping tackle this global health problem in developing countries, where measles remains a leading cause of death, despite the availability of a safe, effective and inexpensive vaccine.”
While at Nest+m, Amanda not only applauded the children for their efforts, but she also took time to read “It Couldn’t Be the Measles” — a rhyming story about a spotted elephant by Brian D. Hahn — to a Kindergarten class. She listened to how the younger students celebrated Mother’s Day and discussed ways moms show love for their children, including ensuring they are well vaccinated.
What I appreciate most about Amanda’s appearance is not just her willingness to get involved. Rather, it’s the effort she is making to help today’s students – and tomorrow’s leaders – understand their role in addressing global needs.
So often children witness what money can buy – including many luxuries they probably already enjoy themselves such as mobile phones, iPods and computers. However, the money they have raised will buy something far more important. By vaccinating villages, this initiative will have a direct impact on the health of hundreds, if not thousands, of people. To a parent living in these villages, the peace of mind that accompanies this vaccination is simply priceless.
Additionally, in helping to immunize others against dangerous and often life-threatening diseases, perhaps these students will come to recognize how fortunate they are to have been immunized themselves. Perhaps this will help to reinforce the decisions their parents have made for them and, in turn, encourage them to take the same precautions for their children one day.
It’s inspiring to know that teens, with help from their classmates, their communities and celebrities like Amanda Peet, are helping to put an end to needless suffering from measles. Certainly, the world will benefit from this generous generation.
If you would like to help, text PREVENT to 90999 to give $10 to the American Red Cross. This simple gesture will protect 10 children for a lifetime. Visit measlesinitiative.org to learn more, including how a school or youth group can start their own Measles Initiative project.
About the Measles Initiative:
Launched in 2001, the Measles Initiative — led by the American Red Cross, the United Nations Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF and the World Health Organization — provides technical and financial support to governments and communities for mass vaccination campaigns and disease surveillance around the world. The Initiative has supported the vaccination of more than 700 million children helping to reduce measles deaths by 78 percent globally (compared to 2000). To learn more, visit www.measlesinitiative.org.
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