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Angela Ishmael: Blogger, Mother, and Ambassador

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Make a Difference—Meet Angela Ishmael.

She is a blogger, a brand new mom, and an ambassador to Africa. She came into each of those things in somewhat indirect ways, but they are each direct outgrowths of the family values she and her husband decided to embrace when they got married. They were both committed to serving others, especially children and moms. She became the Community Manager of SwankyMoms.com, after the site was bought by a social media company from the Canadian woman who started it 6 1/2 years ago. She  has been a mother for only a few days as of this writing, but before that and along with it, she and her husband have sponsored two orphaned Kenyan boys, Charles and Kieran, for several years.

Her service with and for the people of Africa didn't start with a big, direct plunge, either. The family of the man she married was involved with Christian Ministries in Africa, a small, Kenyan-based relief organization, for 20 years before she got involved, and he introduced her to it when they started dating. Though she could see the great need and spirit of the people, she was initially overwhelmed and didn't know what to do. She had a full-time job and very little time, for one thing. But she was determined to help, so she and her hubby found something they could do: sponsor a child for $35 a month. Then, one day when she had a dentist appointment, she decided to ask him to help. He donated 20 toothbrushes. And it grew from there.

Today, she is responsible for helping to raise support and awareness for CMIA, which runs three orphanages, seven pre-primary schools, one academy, one clinic/lab, and various feeding stations, Bible training centers, and churches in Nairobi, Kenya. She also helps put together 5-10 teams a year of American teens carrying supplies to Kenya and Nairobi. The challenges that she's faced along the way have galvanized and, in many ways, directed her efforts. The extensive governmental corruption and unequal distribution of power in Africa, for instance, make shipping supplies and money there very risky, and have necessitated the team trips. But those trips, some of which she and her husband have participated in themselves, have been gratifying not only because of the help they deliver to the people of Kenya, but also because of the effect they have on the participating teens, who go to Africa thinking they'll help others, but in fact come back having done not only that, but having their eyes opened as well and their spirits touched.

2 Steps to Making a Difference in the World

So, she advises others who want to make a difference in the world but don't have much to spare or don't know where to start, to do these two simple things:

  1. Define what you're passionate about. "As moms, our time gets divided up alot. It's best to define what things make you cry, cut out unessentials, and be okay with that," she says.
  2. Learn the ability to "say no in order to say yes." It's difficult but ultimately more gratifying.

Angela Ishmael, a mom making a difference in many ways, started out simply with a desire to help, a desire that has grown into actual, effective, direct action. Get to know her better on Twitter.

Who are moms that you know you are making a big difference in the lives of others? What are they doing and why do they inspire you?

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