“I just don’t want to!” How many times have you heard that from your child in the last two years? It can be wearing a mask, going to school or a simple visit to the grocery store. It occurred to me recently that the only time my son has been in a grocery store the last two years was to get vaccinated. It’s not even done consciously anymore. We’ve moved on from purposeful actions to simply the way of life. I think about the things that have become commonplace to children: masks, lockdown drills, worries about climate change and their generation across borders. It has all become a way of life for them. That is not only where we are making the mistake, but also where we can make the change. The time has come for parents to choose change over the status quo.
Each generation has burdens to bear but also a legacy of hope to pass on. A responsibility that has stood the test of time repeatedly because young people and the adults around them have united for change. UNICEF has successfully been at the forefront of that change for 75 years providing support for the world’s children through illness, malnutrition, conflict, climate change and migration. Today’s world has compounded all of these into a crisis for children.
The time has come for parents to choose change over the status quo.
This March, we need to leave the status quo behind and make change by joining UNICEF advocacy with the incredible opportunity to meet with Congressional members and staff during UNICEF’s Advocacy Day 2022. In the time it takes for you to go down the rabbit hole of social media, you could instead make a major difference in children’s lives – yours, mine and theirs. In one day, even in one meeting.
It is a wonderful experience to watch our youth speak up for themselves, but they need our support. Our elected officials must also hear from parents about our priorities for our children. Before you say, “politics are divisive” and you “don’t want to get involved”- divisive school board meetings and social media posts filled with complaints aren’t going to affect change for our children. Meaningful meetings where we can work together to have open, constructive discussions will.
It is a wonderful experience to watch our youth speak up for themselves, but they need our support.
When you support the world’s largest procurement and delivery of the COVID-19 vaccine, you are supporting a massive effort to stop COVID and its’ variants. This is where you support opening schools and saving lives.
When you support a mental health bill for our schools, you support our children who need help coping with the pandemic and the changes it brought. You support your child’s teacher in the ability to identify and help the student that may be suffering. When you support the continued appropriations for the world’s largest and most effective organization for children, you are supporting a water station for a child who has none, a nutritional program to save the life of a malnourished child, a warm blanket for a refugee child in winter’s harshest cold, a school and supplies for children to learn.
In the end all of these will lead to a future where all children can grow stronger and smarter. This is where we see our future, where our children’s bright smiles will shine again for all to see. All in one day.
Please join us on Advocacy Day, Thursday, March 24. Register for Advocacy Day today.
Top photo: Health care workers carry UNICEF-provided vaccines on difficult terrains in Barpak Village, Nepal. © UNICEF/UNI199196/Panday