What better way for World Moms Blog writers to meet up than at a UN Foundation Volunteer Summit?
Recently, I headed to Washington, DC by invitation from the UN Foundation to speak at a summit to help fire start a grass-roots movement across the United States in support of their Shot@Life campaign. This campaign supports vaccinations to save the lives of children in developing nations.
The foundation gave me the opportunity to invite a few fellow Americans who I thought would be interested in championing the Shot@Life cause. World Moms Blog editors, Kyla P’an in Massachusetts, USA, who had done previous service work in India, and Nicole Melancon in Minnesota, USA, who had raised money to build a school in Nepal singlehandedly, answered the call. And I’m so glad they did!
What do you say to women that you’ve been “working” with for nearly a year and who you are just meeting for the first time?
I remembered once thinking that having “online” friends was weird and shady, and here I was about to meet some fantastic moms whom I met online!
I have been virtually volunteering with these inspiring and well-traveled moms to run an international mothers community, and now came the day that I got to meet not just two, but three World Moms Bloggers, as Dee Harlow was able to catch up with us, too!
(Dee is in language training in Washington, DC for her next international adventure in Laos later this year.)
I truly think meeting these ladies will be a day that I will talk about to my grandkids (and if I don’t have grandkids, then any kid who will want to hear the old stories of a rambling old lady one day!). I was a bit run down upon arrival to the hotel. Ok. That was probably an understatement – I need to add more rest into my life.
So, here’s what I remember, two bubbly blond women nearly as excited to meet me as I was to meet them in the lobby. It was just so exciting! I instantly knew it was them from seeing their pictures online. I remember telling Nicole, “I don’t recognize you without the mountain behind you!” (as in her Gravatar picture). And, they said, “We weren’t expecting you to be so tall!”
We had minutes for me to check in and then for us to head to the lounge to meet the Executive Director, Peg Willingham, of Shot@Life for our scheduled interview with her. (By the way, I learned that Kyla is an impressive interviewer!)
Here we are interviewing Peg minutes after meeting!:
I felt nauseous shortly after the interview, and can you believe it – I wasn’t able to go out to dinner with them that night! I was so disappointed. But, I rested and rallied to meet them in the hotel bar later that night when Dee was coming in to meet up with us.
What a fun night! We talked about everything from Nepal, to Kyla’s editing jobs, to Dee’s service work in Uzbekistan. And they wanted to hear about how I started the blog and how I manage to run it with small children. I told them the story, as I sipped chamomile tea for my stomach, wishing I had a nice glass of wine to celebrate this special occasion.
These women get me. And I get them. We, as well as the many World Moms Blog writers, have made a bond around World Moms Blog and our common interests of motherhood, culture, travel and social good.
Time flies quick. We said goodbye to Dee and good luck to her in Laos. We will look forward to and hear about her experiences in Asia in her future World Moms Blog posts and read them this time “knowing” her.
As we finished up, I started feeling a bit sick again, and the ladies got to ride the elevator with me sitting on the floor. Kyla got me a bag just in case. Yep. It was like we were coming home from a college party, and I had drank too much. Ugh!! Why did I have to feel sick for this special time??!!
The next day Nicole and Kyla experienced my first speaking opportunity as the founder of World Moms Blog. World Moms Blog history in the making!
While jumping from meeting room to meeting room, I then met some very motivated, enthusiastic women and learned more about Kyla and Nicole along the way.
And we were all getting very excited that we were all there representing World Moms Blog and volunteering at the very beginning of the Shot@Life movement – it’s going to be big, people! Shot@Life will greatly impact the lives of global children.
Before I knew it, the summit was over. Like a flash.
Who was it that said that we should plan a meet up for World Moms Blog writers? I think it was our writer, Susie Newday in Israel. Susie, I think you’re on to something!
I have so much more to say, so many more questions to ask and so much time that I want to spend listening to our talented global writers and learning from them. To all the World Moms Blog writers out there – I’m so glad that you are a part of my life! And, to Kyla, Nicole and Dee – what a great memory! Here’s to our paths crossing on this great big planet again!
This is the first of several blog posts about our trip to Washington, DC to highlight the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which supports saving the lives of children in developing nations through vaccinations.
Have you ever met an online friend in person before? How did it go? What did you feel?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog. Jennifer Burden is the founder and an editor of World Moms Blog. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @WorldMomsBlog and @JenniferBurden.
Photo credits to the author.
Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Blog, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Blog currently writes from over 20 countries, has over 60 contributors, is a volunteer effort and was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 and 2013." Also in 2013, World Moms Blog was called a "must read" by The New York Times Motherlode, and was recommended by The Times of India. Jennifer is the stay-at-home mother to two young girls, a UN Foundation's Shot@Life campaign Champion and an advocate for ONE Girls and Women. She was also a member of a delegation to Uganda to view UNICEF's family health programs with Shot@Life in 2012 and a UN Foundation "Global Influencer Fellow" in 2013. In 2014 she was a UN Foundation "Social Media Fellow", attended the Americares Airlift to Nicaragua on behalf of Cognizant, participated in the first AYA Summit and was invited by the World Bank to Washington, DC to report on their global Civil Society Meetings. Jennifer also co-created the #Moms4MDGs twitter campaign that extended from July 2013 to March 2014 to raise awareness on all 8 of the UN's Millennium Development Goals to help eradicate extreme poverty. Her writing has been featured by Shot@Life, Huffington Post, ONE.org, and The Gates Foundation's "Impatient Optimists." She has also spoken on the importance of global vaccination programs by request of the UN Foundation in NYC and Washington, DC. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.