Currently browsing causes for children posts

The World of Child Immigration and What We Can Do to Help

A Brief Introduction

About 10 weeks ago the Trump administration implemented a new immigration policy. All immigrants crossing the border illegally, even if they were seeking political asylum would now be prosecuted as criminals and their children would be taken from them. There were even a number of immigrant asylum seekers who followed US law and presented themselves properly at legal border crossings and still found themselves being treated as criminals and subjected to the same new immigration policy which separated them from their children. Roughly 3,000 children have since been separated from their families.

After a massive public outcry, Trump signed an executive order that stopped the separation. However, it did nothing to reunite the families already split and ensures the continued detention and prosecution of all people attempting to cross the border, children included.

A judge has ordered that all of the children be reunited with their families by the end of July, a deadline which the White House has already requested be extended. As the struggle continues to try and undo some of the horrors of the last few months, information and calls to action continue to flow through communities.

The Facts:

What We Can Do

Illustration by Justin Teodoro

It is natural in times like these to be so horrified by a series of events that we become paralyzed. The weight of the world can be so great that it feels like our souls are being crushed. It is at times like these that we must choose not to hide or be overcome by despair. Every one of us can make a difference.

For the children and their families:

  • Volunteer agencies* are seeking social workers, lawyers, and individuals with language skills to act as translators to help reunify these families and represent them in court.
  • Become a Child Advocate
  • Foster an immigrant child while they wait to be reunited with their families and work through immigration procedures
  • Donate to any of the numerous organizations that have mobilized to support Asylum Seekers and Immigrants

For our future:

  • Educate ourselves- evils like this happen because of ignorance, it is up to us to educate ourselves about our history and our country’s policies so that we know what kind of future we are trying to create
  • Talk to each other- we can feel so alone at times like these, but acting as a community will give us the support we need and make us more effective
  • Be brave

For ourselves:

  • Breathe- take a minute to breathe and touch base with yourself mentally and physically. There is a lot going on and we need rest. Even if it’s just a moment’s.
  • Take breaks– from the news, from social media, from conversations about politics and the state of society. If we don’t take breaks we can become overwhelmed and may struggle with depression or anxiety.
  • Be willing to grow- this goes with “educate ourselves.” As we learn new things our past assumptions about the world are challenged. It can be frightening, we may feel threatened, both are perfectly natural responses. Try to accept the new information anyway.
  • Talk to people about what you feel

The United States can be better than this, but we have to choose to be.

*Individuals are not allowed to volunteer at the detention facilities themselves, so it is best to find an agency to help.

Courage and Compassion: Tatum’s Bags of Fun

I had the opportunity to attend a fundraising benefit last weekend to support kids with cancer in Indiana, my home state. The White Party is the signature annual event for the charity, Tatum’s Bags of Fun.

Who is Tatum and What are Bags of Fun?

Tatum During her First Treatment

Tatum during her first treatment

I’m glad you asked! Tatum is a two-time cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma at age 6, and again eighteen months later. Now 15 year’s old, Tatum is 6-years cancer-free.

Once Tatum was doing better – having endured 3 surgeries and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation over two years – she did not simply go off and resume her former life. She remembered just how much she benefited during out-of-state treatment from receiving a bag of goodies from the Gabby Krause Foundation – so she and her family resolved to do the same for kids diagnosed with cancer in Indiana.

Bags of fun are backpacks filled with age-appropriate games, toys and activities to keep kids amused and occupied while in the hospital and getting chemotherapy. As Tatum says in the video on her website, “during your treatments you’re really tired, you’re really weak, you don’t really feel like getting up and moving…and it’s a lot of times boring!” Bags of fun are based on the idea that kids are kids…even sick kids!

Tatum with a bag of fun!

Tatum with a bag of fun!

Tatum and her family started giving out the bags in 2008, making this the seventh year they have been supporting local kids with cancer. They give out more than 300 backpacks each year across the state – which sadly indicates how many children are afflicted by cancer each year just in Indiana. The White Party I attended last Saturday – where everyone wears all white to represent purity and freedom from cancer – was the sixth annual version of this event and helps to raise the funds needed for these bags of fun – each of which costs more than $300 to stock.

Tatum-smilingI was able to meet Tatum on Saturday evening and heard both her and her father speak to the group. She’s a really impressive girl, and very articulate for a teen – which you can see from her video on the Tatum’s Bags of Fun home page (and she was only 12 years old when the video was made!) She also does a lot of speaking engagements at schools and clubs and seems to work tirelessly on fundraising efforts (rather than, say, play video games or upload photos to snapchat!). A lot of other folks seem to think she’s impressive too, as indicated by the testimonial videos on the website – including one by John Green, author of The Fault in Our Stars, a wonderful book (and movie) about teens with cancer, that was set in Indianapolis (where John Green was born).

I find Tatum’s work – and her courage – to be an inspiration. Clearly she and her family are making a difference in the lives of children who have to fight a battle no one that young should ever have to. Testimonials on Tatum’s website from these kids and their parents tell the story better than I ever could. Below are a a few excerpts.

  • “As a parent you have touched my heart forever…. I was in tears because someone thought of something to give my son to help get him through this difficult journey he is on. ”
  • “…it was one of the last fun and happy times we had together. I will always remember it, and I thank you. I know that our son does too.”
  • “…What I really want you to know is you made her forget about how scared and sick she was. In that moment that we saw how excited she was, we all forgot. I want you to know that you made a difference in her life. She was dealt a very unfortunate hand but you have made it much, much easier to deal with. For all of us.”

World Record Swim in Honor of Childhood Drowning Prevention

Don Walsh is an extraordinary man by anyone’s definition. Mentor to Navy SEAL candidates, 3-tour Vietnam War Veteran, coach for minority women’s triathalon teams, guitarist, water safety author, husband, and father. He’s been a serious open water swimming competitor for three decades, including circling Key West (12.5 miles), Manhattan (28.5 miles) and the Isle of Jersey (41.5 miles). Did I mention he also has a day job, inspecting bridges for the County of Monmouth?

Don is truly a ‘good guy’ and a great role model for kids. His incredible spirit and generous heart have moved him to dedicate a personal milestone to raising awareness about saving kids from drowning.

In what we believe will set a world record, Don will kick off his 11th year of consecutive monthly open water swims in honor of Childhood Drowning Prevention Month. On May 1st at 1pm, Don will plunge into the Atlantic at Brielle Road Beach in Manasquan, New Jersey.

Help us to raise awareness by spreading the word. Share this on Facebook, tweet it, tell your friends, forward it to your local press.

One child drowns every minute. We can change that. Help us spread the word.

Jay K. | Matthews, NC; Sun., Aug. 15, 2010

This is clearly over-due ! ! The sooner the better ! !

Ruth T. | East Islip, NY; Thu., Aug. 5, 2010

As a nurse, I have ridden ambulances that do not have a way to secure small children and infants. I strongly support this necessary improvement to our EMS system.

Michael M. | Valley Cottage, NY; Thu., Aug. 5, 2010

Parents – as well as society – ought to know that injured or sick children will be safely transported in an ambulance.Flag Comment

Next Page »