Category Archives: Blogging for Better

Son’s incredible progress inspires couple to help other families get much needed speech services

Pam first noticed something different about her son, Joshua, when he was 18 months old. Though he was a perfectly healthy baby, she knew he was unlike other kids in his age group.

“We were in play groups with other kids around the same age,” she recalls. “When we went to their houses, Joshua would play with their toys but never showed any interest in the other kids. They would play with each other, hopping around from one toy to another. But Joshua would focus on one toy the entire time. The other kids were starting to form words or to have some semblance of communication with their parents, and Joshua just wasn’t.”

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Like many new parents, Pam, and her husband, Joe, chalked these differences up to Joshua’s unique personality and speed of development. They assumed Joshua’s desire to play with one toy for hours at a time or his avoidance of eye contact was just his quirky behavior, and nothing to be too concerned about.

At their son’s two-year checkup, however, the pediatrician suggested Joe and Pam have Joshua evaluated, and after several appointments, interviews and therapy, a specialist at the Cleveland Clinic diagnosed their son with moderate autism.

Continue reading

Nobody should ever have to choose between tampons and a meal

You are out and about and the dreaded “time of the month” has arrived unexpectedly; you go to use the restroom, only to discover, as you desperately fumble through your purse, that you don’t have any menstrual products on hand. You scramble around for spare change, and thankfully, the bathrooms vending machine has some tampons available.

Crisis averted.

Nobody Should Ever Have To Choose Between Tampons And A Meal

Plenty of us have been there, and can relate to the awful feeling of not having period supplies on hand when we need them. We can usually rely on having enough cash to purchase what we need from a local drug store, or even ask a friend. Someone we know always has a spare.

But, what if it weren’t so easy? What if having your period meant searching around for spare pieces of cardboard so you wouldn’t have to bleed everywhere? What if it meant choosing between buying food or buying menstrual products? Continue reading

Let’s smash the cycle of negative body image

I am lucky to have had a positive view of my body for most of my life. Sure, I had a few moments, such as wondering whether my breasts would come in by the time I got to high school, or if I put on some extra weight in college,  when I didn’t absolutely love how I looked, but overall, I was happy with what I was given.

I would like to believe this positive body image was built from within, but that is not the case. Those feelings were nurtured by being raised by two parents who never once made me feel ashamed of how I looked, and who modeled healthy attitudes themselves.

Let's smash the cycle of negative body image

In our home, the word, “diet,” was never uttered from anyone’s lips, or written on any product we owned. There was no pinching of fat, or lamenting about weight gain. The only scale I ever saw was at the doctor’s office.

My parents always reminded me of the beauty they saw within me, even if I didn’t always believe them.

Sadly, I know my experience is unique. Many of my peers grew up with moms who were constantly on diets, or subtly, or not-so-subtly, reminding them of their physical flaws. They were raised in homes obsessed with obtaining the “perfect” number on the scale, fueling a lifetime of unhealthy attitudes about weight. Continue reading

D.C. foundation brings joy of play to homeless youth

When you think about the basic needs of children, your mind probably goes to food, clothing and shelter. The things all humans need for survival. If you were to help the millions of homeless children in the United States, you might, rightfully, give some canned goods to a local food bank, or donate some blankets to an area shelter. These basic needs are something many of us can easily provide for our own children, and ones we easily take for granted.

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There is another childhood need we take for granted: play. Play is a fundamental part of childhood development. Play helps shape our children’s characters, develop critical life skills and forge their sense of self worth. A recent study by the American Association of Pediatrics highlights the importance of play and of every child, regardless of circumstance deserving the right to play.

Play is a vital part of childhood, and something all children deserve to experience. Unfortunately, however, kids who find themselves with unstable housing — often moving from shelter to shelter — rarely get the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of play. Continue reading

Reading to NICU babies inspires foundation full of heart

My baby doesn’t belong in the NICU.

At least, that’s what I thought while I held my seven-pound, full-term newborn in a room surrounded by tiny preemies tucked away in incubators, fighting to survive.

My baby doesn’t belong.

Or, maybe, I don’t belong.

My NICU experience was fraction of the time other parents endure. I came to the hospital with a baby born under emergency conditions and left two days later with a healthy child. This is not a typical NICU story, and I often feel wrong putting myself in that club.

I have friends whose children spent weeks, even months in the hospital, their contact with their precious babies reduced to supervised hours and minimal privacy. I have friends who spent days watching their tiny miracles give their all to survive, only to succumb to the will of G-d. I witnessed other parents during my visits to the NICU, whose bravery never wavered in the face of uncertainty.

Even though, my child wasn’t in the NICU for long. The time I spent with him there taught me just how valuable a caring and supportive environment can be for both newborns and parents. As I sat there in that uncomfortable hospital chair, awkwardly trying to nurse my child without detaching the numerous wires affixed to his body, I listened to the sounds of nurses tirelessly rushing from incubator to incubator, checking vitals and comforting bewildered parents. Because I was able to spend time with my child alone, I had the unique opportunity to observe other families and empathize with their hopes, fears and dreams.

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Because I (article author) was able to spend time with my child alone, I had the unique opportunity to observe other families and empathize with their hopes, fears and dreams.

One common connection between all NICU families, as this immense feeling of gratitude. Even those who’ve experienced the greatest of loss, still find meaning and purpose in the midst of tragedy. These parents are an inspiration and a reminder how hope can shine through the darkest of moments.

One such mother is Stacey Skrysak, a journalist and writer who, along with her husband Ryan founded Triple Heart Foundation in honor of their premature triplets, Peyton, Parker and Abby. Born in 2013 at just a little more than 22 weeks gestation, only Peyton survived, with Abby passing shortly after birth and Parker passing in the NICU at nearly two months old. Continue reading

Blogging for Better: The Voices and Faces Project

As a writer myself, I can vouch for the power of words, which is why I am honored to introduce our next Blogging for Better charity:

The Voices and Faces Project

Gender-based violence impacts the lives of millions, forever changing how they experience the world. We hear about the suffering they face, but, far too frequently, those stories are told through the eyes of the legal system, the media, the general public, and not through the lens of the survivors themselves. Fear, shame, anger and resentment often prevents these survivors from sharing their stories; stories that need to be heard; stories that need to be told.

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Enter the Voices and Faces Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of gender-based violence put their stories into words. Through writing workshops, trained advocates help survivors create memoirs, short stories, poetry and more to articulate their experiences. These creative works not only serve to heal, they bring a humanity to the often cold, statistical experience of gender-based violence. These survivors are not just numbers, they are humans with stories we all need to hear.

“Many survivors of sexual violence, myself included, find that sharing their stories can help them heal themselves, and heal others,” says Lea Grover, Special Projects Associate for the Voices and Faces Project.

“The Voices and Faces Project’s testimonial writing workshop, “The Stories We Tell,” connects survivors to each other and helps them develop the tools to turn their experiences into action. It opens doors to advocacy and activism in many forms, and graduates of the workshop have gone on to write books, found their own organizations, and do the work of making the world safer for both those who have survived sexual violence and those who are at risk of experiencing it.”

The Voices and Faces Project covers the cost of the workshop for everyone who is accepted, which is why contributions to this worthy cause are so needed.

Throughout the month of November, as part of our Blogging for Better efforts, myself and others will be promoting the Voices and Faces Project, bringing attention to and raising funds for this worthy cause.

If you are blogger, writer or social media influencer interested in learning more about Blogging for Better, please email me at maybeillshowertoday at gmail dot com. You can also request to join our private Facebook group here.

 

 

Blogging for Better: Sanctuary for Families

I started this blog five years ago as a way to share the joys and hardships of parenting with others who can relate to my experiences. One of my goals was to build a big enough platform to reach those whose needs go beyond what I can do with words alone (not that words aren’t important!) About two years ago, I tossed around the idea of promoting different philanthropies each month, and growing a network of bloggers to support them. For some reason, I never did anything.

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Today, that changes. Today, I am launching what I hope to be the first of many in a monthly series I am calling, “Blogging for Better.” Each month, I will feature a new charity, often one that is not a huge national philanthropy, which dedicates itself to serving children, families, mothers and other vulnerable groups. I pledge to only feature charities that I have personally supported.

With that, I would like to announce my first “Blog for Better” cause:

Sanctuary for Families

Violence against women and children impacts thousands of families every year, which is why I am supporting Sanctuary for Families.

From the Sanctuary for Families website:

“Sanctuary for Families is New York’s leading service provider and
advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related
forms of gender violence.”

This incredible organization helps victims of abuse escape from a life of pain and suffering by providing shelter, legal counsel, career training and more.

If you would like to support Sanctuary for Families, please click here.

To learn more about Sanctuary for Families services, click here.

(Note if you are a New Yorker in immediate danger and need to take discreet action, Sanctuary for Families offers a secure option for you. Just click on the “Escape” button found on the web site.)

Thank you so much in joining me in blogging for better. If you have a blog, please consider joining me in building a network of bloggers supporting wonderful causes. E-mail me at maybeillshowertoday@gmail.com with the subject line: Blogging for Better.

Let’s make the world a better place, one blog post at a time.