I've always believed that kids have one job, to be kids. Their job is to learn, ask questions, laugh, get frustrated, discover, invent, and imagine. Growing up, things weren't always easy. I was incredibly lucky that I was surrounded by a matriarchy of strong and powerful women who went out of their way to shield us from what was going on. And while it was impossible for us to not understand that things weren't smooth sailing, we knew we were loved and supported no matter what happened.
Not every kid has those resources. So many children around the world don't get to be kids because their job becomes surviving. It's hard for me to stand on a platform and ignore my obligation to do something to contribute to the world I want to live in. It's the reason I'm so open and honest about my own doubts, insecurities, and shame. It's not easy to share pieces of me that I've hidden or felt insecure about for so many years. But it's liberating to be able to air out what I once thought were skeletons in my closet and opening up has been rewarding and liberating.
But I want to do more than just share my story with hopes that it empowers or inspires. So many people around the world need help and one group in particular who I feel compelled to advocate and fight for are children. It kills me that millions of kids don't get to be kids. It physically pains me to know that children wake up in fear for their own safety and survival. And it hits way to close to home to know the terror and agony parents face knowing that their children may be taken from them before their time.
That's why I chose to dedicate my 2016 fundraising efforts to Save the Children.
Save the Children is a life changing charity who goes in and fights for kids both in America and all around the world. $40 can provide children with mosquito nets keep them safe through the night. $75 can educate a girl with the books, learning materials and school access needed to learn and thrive. $80 can provide a family with a goat and two chicks for life-changing results. $200 raised can help provide ready-to-use food to help save malnourished children. $300 raised can help provide healthcare essentials to a school clinic serving hundreds of children. A little goes a long way and every single donation helps.
After my brother passed away, birthdays took on a new meaning. It's easy to not want to celebrate life when something so awful has happened to you. But I think it's important to do just that, you have to celebrate the time you have. And to help me celebrate another year, I hope that you'll find it in your heart to make a tiny donation to help Save the Children give children a fighting chance. No child should ever have to suffer and your donation can help make that happen.
Thank you for following my journey and for supporting me every step of the way. 27 was a tough but incredible year and I hope 28 is even more exciting and challenging. Until next time, #RunSelfieRepeat.