Utah Mom - Strength in Numbers & the Power of One
May 9, 2012 BY Lori Harding
Where do I begin? Have you ever been dreaming and never wanted to wake up? This is my experience when I was selected as the first ever 2010 Mom Congress Delegate for Utah! Pinch me, I must be dreaming! From the very beginning my experience has been first class. All expense paid trip to Washington DC, 4 star accomodations, delicious food and incredible presenters from across the nation. My first trip was filled with the excitment of a new beginning. Participating and molding a new concept into something much bigger than anyone could imagine. Each presentation built on the next, each brainstorm uninhibited. We laughed, we learned, we strengthened our resolve to protect and advocate for the children of the United States of America. It didn't matter which state you were from, our common focus and passions united us as we developed our plans to improve our advocacy efforts and spread the many messages across the nation. Leaving that first year I had met 50 other super charged women who were equally dedicated to making a difference.
I was invited to return the 2nd year and present on a panel, along with mentor the next Utah Delegate. It was during this conference that I honed my advocacy skills and added 51 more contacts from across the nation. We heard from additional presenters and panels where we were empowered to ask questions and become more specialized in our advocacy efforts. We returned to Georgetown University and the magic of Washington, D.C. We were blessed with a tour of the Capital where we learned first hand the history and diversity of our great country.
This past week I enjoyed my 3rd year at Mom Congress. Invited back to mentor two fantastic 2012 Mom Congress Delegates and help them along their journey. Again we were blessed with a packed agenda with absolutely incredible presenters and panels. Each discussion was focused even more on what successful advocates were doing across the country and gave us insight and ideas on how to maximize our own efforts. I honestly believe each year gets better and the networking and education received enhances the prior year.
Mom Congress has opened many doors for me during the last 3 years. In this past year an invitation went out to all delegates to apply to participate in a new initiative under the United Nation Foundation. The grassroot program is Shot@Life. I was selected and joined a few other delegates to the United Nations Foundation's office in January 2012 where we learned more about the program and committed ourselves to becoming Shot@Life Champions for their kickoff in April 2012. As a champion, I am committed to a healthier world and helping to give every child a healthy shot at life. Some startling statistics woke me up to reality where I could no longer ignore how interconnected we are. Did you know that one child dies every 20 seconds from a disease that could be prevented with something as simple as a vaccine? Polio, measles, diarrhea, pneumonia - diseases that in some parts of our world are corrected with a quick trip to the corner market, for others takes the life of one, and in some cases two, of their children. I have learned that mothers will walk for hours, stand in the longest lines imaginable just to hear that they have run out of vaccines for their child. I just can't sit back and allow this to continue to happen. That is why I am a Shot@Lift Ambassador, their Champion. There is room for everyone to participate - everyone to make a difference. Join us and spread the word. Women and families are taking a stand by raising awareness and funds to help people around the world. Will you join us?
I am so grateful for the opportunity of being a Utah Delegate for Mom Congress and the many opportunities it has opened for me. The difference we can make when we stand together, when we share our voices, when we advocate for the least of these, our future our children. It is the difference between life and death in some instances. It is the difference of stopping the cycle of poverty, illiteracy and crime for even more. If I can help just one child change their lives and make a change for the better - than my life has been a blessing.
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