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Global Change: Start Small to Make a Difference

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The thought of impacting global change is overwhelming when you think of the harsh reality of what is going on in the world today both at home and abroad.

Global Change

Recently, I discovered I needed reading glasses. What does this have to do with impacting global change, you might be asking yourself? Let me explain.

At first, I was excited. Shopping for some sassy specs, scoring several pairs that perfectly matched my outfits, and getting a new look sounded fun. But then I let my purchase linger too long and my eyesight deteriorated. I suddenly couldn't read simple things I had taken for granted my entire life like menus and books. I even had to ask my 14-year-old son to read me the instructions for how to microwave my oatmeal. I mean, since when did oatmeal packaging switch over to a 3-point font!?!

Somewhere between discovering I needed reading glasses and getting them, I had the thought: "What if I didn't have the option to get glasses?" In a very short period of time, I gained an appreciation for things I had never considered a blessing before: my eyesight, my ability to read, the books that surround me, my education, my health, and the list went on. I became overwhelmed with the thought of people all over the world having poor eyesight, no access to either medical care or glasses, no education, and no ability to read. Even though I had visited schools in developing nations in dire circumstances with limited resources and opportunities, my limited eyesight helped me gain greater compassion and lit a renewed fire in me to do my part.

This experience also made me pause to think about other global needs. After all, poor eyesight is one thing, but children dying of preventable diseases is quite another.

Global Change, Shot@Life, Africa, Healthcare, Vaccinations, Vaccines

How to Impact Global Change: Be the Change You Wish to See in the World

One of my favorite quotes is a popular one by Ghandi that you've probably heard a gazillion times:

Be the change you wish to see in the world!

Ghandi Quote, Global Change, Shot@Life, Vaccinations

I read it recently over on Kami's site (Isn't this globe a great reminder?) and it got me thinking...

If I can't singlehandedly go out and offer a pair of glasses to everyone with poor eyesight in the world and if I can't provide every child the healthcare he or she deserves, what can I do? And what can I do today?

I discovered that what has been holding me back has been this feeling that the changes I want to see in the world are all very big changes. It doesn't seem good enough to give one child a shot at life, for example, when every child deserves access to healthcare. So just thinking about the changes I really wish to see, and all that goes along with impacting global change, made me feel very small and quite honestly, incapable, which quickly turned to inaction. And by inaction, I mean completely frozen.

Then I started thinking of an elementary-school classroom in a Kenyan shanty town lit only by very small windows. And instead of focusing on the electricity, or the lack thereof, I thought of the teacher. I could hear her enthusiasm as she taught the well mannered and wide-eyed African children to speak English by having them repeat after her. I could see her smile. I could see the children focused on her, anxious to gain the knowledge she was sharing with them. And I suddenly saw something big happening—the education of many children—one child at a time through very small steps performed with consistency day in and day out.

Global Change, Education, Africa, Shot@Life

How Can You Help Today? Leave a Comment to Save Children From Preventable Diseases

Every action, no matter how small, is a necessary baby step toward making a long-term difference. To be the change we wish to see in the world requires taking a step, even if just a baby step. So today, I'm starting small. I'm using my voice again. I'm taking a baby step forward by writing this post and sharing Shot@Life's message on social media that children can get vaccinations they need to prevent disease and death. At some point, I'll figure out eyecare, but for now, the focus is to give the kids a shot at making it past their 5th birthday so glasses are even possible for them.

During Shot@Life's Blogust 2015—a month-long blog relay—some of North America's most beloved online writers, photo and video bloggers and Shot@Life Champions will come together and share inspirational quotes for their children. Every time you comment on this post and other Blogust contributions, or take action using the social media on this website, Shot@Life and the United Nations Foundation pages, one vaccine will be donated to a child around the world (up to 50,000).

Yes! That's right! Just one small comment. Just one small social share. And up to $50,000 will go to help children in need. Now, that's huge!

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.


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