Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Power to Make Change

So, I missed International Day of the Girl, a day that began about five years ago in which we address the needs and challenges women face in our society, empower women’s rights and encourage women to set and reach their goals. Really, we should be doing this every day—to all people, regardless of gender, but, of course having a day of awareness for any great cause is a good thing.

Above is a photo taken by my author friend, Mallory Gaile, of me signing books at the Lincoln Parish Central Library in Ruston, Louisiana. I began writing novels when I was fourteen and had the encouragement of not only my family and friends, but also my teachers. The public education I received, a blessing in this country, prepared me for my life as a professional.

Today, however, there are over 260 MILLION children who will not attend school.

Chilling, isn't it?

I read daily. I read to my son daily. Books are a natural part of our existence; we look to them for research, entertainment and, oftentimes, to simply unwind and escape to a world different from the one in which we live. But there are children who cannot read—children who grow up to be adults who cannot read. It’s not only unthinkable but unequivocally heartbreaking.

You may be thinking, “Honestly, Alyssia, I get all this, but what do you expect me to do about it?” Nothing, to be honest. What you choose to do in this life is exactly that: Your Choice. However, if you want to make difference, if there’s a little voice inside of you saying, “I want to do SOMEthing, someway, somehow to help further the education of someone who needs it,” start by donating books to local libraries and schools. Write a check or donate books to an after-school program who helps both children and adults learn to read or, better yet, ask how you go about volunteering for an hour or two. Every area has easily accessible information on organizations who strive to educate your community. Organizations who aren’t funded by the government and who rely solely on volunteers and the generosity of patrons willing to support their efforts.

So, yeah. This post started out about International Day of the Girl and, yes, let’s support and promote that mindset. With the onslaught of people—not just women, folks…people—who have come forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault, I feel we’re in a whole new moment in time to stand up and bring awareness to us all as the human race who inhabits this planet. But let’s push that even further by remembering how very blessed we are—how blessed YOU are, if you’re reading and comprehending this post; a teacher taught you how to do that!—and work to help others do the same.

I love you guys. To all of you who use your voice to call out those topics that make people squirm, I applaud and thank you. We’re living in an age in which speaking out is vital to make real change. Let’s work to make that happen.

Peace, Love and Junior Mints,

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