I grew up in a very poor community in the Appalachian Mountains off the Ohio River Valley. My parents were hard working farmers and taught me about giving back to your community. Being apart of a community means to take care of each other. To build together and be there for each other. Naturally, being raised in this environment I wanted to do something with my life that would always keep me involved in the community I was living in. I became a Nurse. I was able to learn about all that was happening in each city i was living in and where I could give back. When I had Mia I took a break from nursing at the hospital (since i was nursing 24/7 at home now). I still had the desire to be apart of the community. Joining mommy and me groups helped to fill the void but I wanted to do more. I became involved with the charity organization The Alliance of Moms. A community of moms in Los Angeles formed to help the pregnant and parenting foster youth of our community. I started spending the few hours a day the girls were in preschool helping the organization. Some nights I even volunteer at cooking classes for these youth. I would talk to my girls about where I was going and who I was helping. My oldest daughter Mia at this time was performing in the musical Annie. She found a special love for the girls I was working with my learning about how not everyone has a mom and dad to be there for them. She understood that I was going to help these girls who have babies just like her little sister. She started setting aside her favorite books and toys and asking me to take these items to the kids who can use them. She wanted to give back. It was a beautiful moment. I could also see that she wanted to do more. I really wanted to keep this going. During this time I got a beautiful email from another mother asking if I wanted to partner with her to have a lemonade stand with her children. I would bring the honey from our Apiary (beehive) at home and she would provide the organic lemons from her tree. When I presented this idea to Mia and her friends they were more than excited to use this as an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Alliance of Moms working with the Alliance of Children’s rights.
I recalled Ikea having the most adorable cardboard stand. Using this and a few props from our Melissa and Doug baskets we put together the cutest little stand. We set it up outside the kids preschool to get after school traffic and the kids went to work. They poured the lemonade that the other mom worked through the night to make perfect. They crushed the ice for the cups and collected the money. They were the cutest and so proud. (Also a little hyper from all the lemonade they drank) In total they collected $198.00 for the Alliance of Moms.
I remember hearing when i first had Mia that children only do 10% of what you say and 90% of what you do. To always remember to set a good example for your children. Seeing her as an active member of her community with the desire to give back is one of the greatest compliments of my work as a mother to date..