Moms +SocialGood was a one-day kick-off event for the Global Moms Relay dedicated to the power of moms and families to create a better future for their communities, and the role of social media and philanthropy to boost health and happiness for moms and babies everywhere. The conference drew attention to some of the greatest challenges facing women and children, and to put moms and dads at the forefront of the discussion on how to tackle these issues.
The event was filled with inspiring speakers such as Jennifer Garner, Ambassador Samantha Power, Ambassador Elizabeth Cousens, Her Excellency Toyin Saraki, Dr. Geeta Rao Gupta, Leith Greenslade, Jackie Bezo, and many others. Each panel and speaker addressed the central theme: What Kind of World Do We Want for Our Children in 2030? Below are some of my favorite moments from the conference.
In a previous career, I was a portrait photographer and Anne Geddes was perhaps my biggest influence. I loved how she used photography to capture the beauty and innocence of babies and children. During her award-winning career, Anne has connected with moms and children around the world and experienced the common bond that all mothers have-to nurture and protect their children. It was exciting to hear Geddes thoughts on how she uses here art to make a difference in the world. It was even more exciting to see current photos of the babies she photographed many years ago.
“I am passionate about the protection of new life because every newborn represents our eternal chance at new beginnings” – Anne Geddes
Geddes has been working on two projects that caught my attention. The first is a project that documents fatherhood across Africa. The second is a project that gives a voice to and shows the beauty and inner strength of children who were stricken by preventable, debilitating illnesses. In the photo above (top right) is 8-year old Harvey from the U.K. According to Geddes, he is a little live-wire who had just learned to walk when he was afflicted with his illness. Geddes told the audience that he sent her a letter the week after the image was take that said he was proud of his amputations for the first time in his life.
Jaha Dukureh is an activist and FGM survivor from Gambia. In this video, she reads a poem that she wrote to her daughters on the future she wants for them and all girls by 2030.
Actor Jerry O’Donnell was tasked with representing dads on the program. He talked about how he and his wife manage their parenting duties along with the demanding careers. He also shared an anecdote about how fatherhood has changed since he was a kid.
“When I was a child, I got sick and the school called my mom to pick me up. My mother couldn’t get me so she called my dad to ask him to do it. He agreed and planned to get me from school. A few minutes later, my mother’s phone rang again. It was my dad. After a couple of seconds of awkward silence, he asked, “Um, where is Jerry’s school?” This lesson motivated him to be involved in every aspect of his children’s lives. He advised fathers to spend as much time as possible with their kids, be present, and enjoy the moment.
Musical Performance by PS22 Chorus
My favorite part of the day was the musical performance by the world-renowned PS22 Chorus. Fifty 5th graders took to the stage to declare the future they want for all their peers and to perform the inspiring song, “People Loving People.”
Visit Global Moms to view full videos from the conference. If you’d like to do your part to help moms and families around the world, here are a few ways to get involved:
- Share the stories of mothers around the world from the Global Moms Relay site, Baby Center, or the Huffington Post. Each time you share a Global Moms Relay post, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 for each share on each social network, up to $300,000, to help moms and children through UNICEF, MAMA, Shot@life, and Girl Up.
- You can also use the Donate-A-Photo app and Johnson & Johnson will donate $1* when you upload a photo for Girl Up or UNICEF, up to $100,000.
Join the conversation: What kind of world do you want for your children in 2030?
Disclosure: Johnson & Johnson paid for my travel expenses to New York. All opinions are my own.