The 6th grade Girl Scout troop at a Palatine elementary school had what would appear to be a regular meeting last Friday night. Giggly girls, lots of chattering and a parking lot of more than 12 cellular devices on the leaders kitchen table.
However, this meeting was not your average meeting. These girls were meeting to write letters to Congress asking their senators for support of global vaccines for children in developing countries. Yep, that’s right…kids advocating for kids.
This is a topic that the girls discussed in great length and they came to the conclusion that they are very lucky because they have the choice to receive vaccines from their doctors to protect them from diseases, that in may countries, kill children much younger than themselves, at the ages of 11-12. Around the world, some moms walk as far as 15 miles to reach life-saving vaccines for their children, and they also came to realize it was even luckier that our doctors are usually 15 minutes away – a very different perspective, indeed.
With the statistic of 1 child dying every 20 seconds from a preventable disease they immediately knew they wanted to help. They learned that one in five children lack access to life saving immunizations that keep children healthy. In fact, approximately 1.7 million children in developing countries die each year of a preventable disease like pneumonia, diarrhea (rotavirus), measles and polio. The girls in the troop wanted to help save lives and make the world a better place (which is part of the Girl Scout Law, by the way). So they got writing!
By simply asking their Senators and House Representatives to support funding for global vaccines they can start to change mindsets, make an impact and eventually know that they did help save lives, right from their Girl Scout leaders living room.
Through the help of the Shot@Life Campaign, sponsored by the United Nations Foundation, the girls continued their discussion and talked about the idea that so many kids are missing out on amazing milestones or lifetime “firsts” was heart breaking to them. They wanted to help ensure that kids got a shot at all those milestones that they may never get to see. Here are some of the “shots” our troop chose to recognize in their letters to Congress:
Give kids a shot@:
Reading a book, Meeting their grandchildren, Going to Prom, Chasing Dreams, Making a Mistake, First steps, A First Kiss, To travel, Riding a bike, Having a birthday party, Losing a tooth, an education, and building a snowman.
Shot@Life educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save lives of children in developing countries. A national call to action for this global cause, the campaign rallies the American public, members of Congress, and civil society partners around the fact that together, we can save a child’s life every 20 seconds by expanding access to vaccines.
So…these 6th grade girls wrote their letters and mailed them off. They will now continue their efforts to bring awareness to the community and help spread the word about Shot@ Life. Vaccines work. Immunization has saved lives of more children than any other medical intervention in the last 50 years. Vaccines ensure that all children, no matter their circumstances, have a shot at a healthy life.
What do you want to give kids a shot@?
Blowing bubbles? A first smile? Temper Tantrums? Friends? Baking cookies? Picking Dandelions? Potty training? A First day of School?
….A shot at Life?
For more information about Shot@Life, visit http://www.shotatlife.org.