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Moms Making a Difference

Local moms donate their time for good causes.

As a mom to young kids, I think it's easy for me to feel like the world only exists within the walls of my house. I think that it's important to look out beyond the haven of my home and reach out to others in need.

It feels pretty amazing to make a difference in the world by doing something with my time other than wiping runny noses, although that's an important job, too.

I recently learned that 780 million people lack access to an improved water source; approximately one in nine people. That's just staggering to me. So, I decided to use my blog Leigh vs. Laundry as a platform for change. I teamed up with Water.org and a whole team of fellow bloggers to help raise $2,500- enough money to bring clean, safe drinking water to 100 people for life.

We all committed to blog for 10 days about the water crisis to raise awareness and raise funds to help get water to the people of Haiti. We are currently on day 7, and as I type this, we have raised $1,510, enough to provide 60 people with clean water for life. I'm proud to be a part of a collective voice of mommy bloggers who are working to make the world a better place. I hope that others will be moved to donate to the cause.

I also love seeing my fellow moms roll up their sleeves and put some time into helping others. Local mom Ruby Basham donates her time to The Cave at Covenant Presbyterian Church, a free, non-denominational after-school program for middle and high school youth that takes place on Fridays during the school year.

"I'm a big believer in the 'pay it forward' principle. In my opinion, anyone is who lucky enough to have time, talent, or money to spare should spread it around for the greater good," Basham said. "It's heartening when kids recognize me as part of a good thing in their lives. I'm glad they can make a positive association with caring adults in the community."

Merryn Walker, an All State Insurance agent and mom, felt led to help out Books for Keeps, a program that works hard to place new books directly into the hands of economically disadvantaged children. She discovered the group on Facebook and wanted to support the cause.

"I buy a lot of books for my kids from used book sales, Goodwill, and we go to the library a lot! Books are a resource that should be shared and can make such a difference in a child's life," Walker said.

She offers her help by opening her Allstate office as a drop off space, sorting books at the warehouse, helping with fundraising and then distributing the books. Walker got hooked when she volunteered at a local school for the book distribution, where kids chose 12 books to take home with them.

"The kids were totally grateful and excited to get them. It was sweet to watch them pick one for their sister or cousin to share," said Walker. "We hear from the media specialist that teachers are seeing an improvement, especially in the second graders, and it's awesome!"

For others, the choice to volunteer is personal. Local mom Tiffanie Reed discovered that one of her best friends was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma. Her friend participated in a surf camp with an organization called First Descents, which provides young adult cancer survivors and fighters a free week-long adventure camp where they learn to surf, kayak or rock climb.

Reed decided to train to run in the AthHalf marathon in honor of her best friend and is seeking sponsors to donate money to First Descents. "Knowing that she was headed to camp kept her spirits up while she was going through chemo, and after she went on the trip she could not stop talking about how much the trip had changed her life," Reed said.  "It feels great to run a race to raise money for this cause, because I'm finding that I can achieve more than I ever thought I could."

People can make a big difference in world. Moms in particular often having giving hearts but little time. I take comfort in knowing that women like these are out working in full force to help the greater good.

Do you think that it's important to volunteer your time? What causes are important to you? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. Feel free to add links to organizations that you support. Let's get the word out!

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