Six months ago, I was hired to do organization and outreach in for a new group in Ohio called, Moms Clean Air Force. At that time, I was primarily working alone as an artist and had all but thrown away my television because watching the news made me feel sad and hopeless.
My time with MCAF has flown by and this job has opened me up in many wonderful ways. It’s allowed me to grow both as a mom and as a citizen.
It only takes a few minutes of talking to me to know I love my job, and I love being involved in my community. I didn’t always feel this way. I remember looking at people who found joy in volunteering and wondered why I didn’t feel the same way. Then I started bringing moms together in groups to talk about clean air. These women were taking time out of their busy lives. They were thoughtful, funny and intelligent, and like me, they wanted to protect their children from toxins.
“Sometimes being a good mom means being an active citizen.” This statement now represents my personal journey from being withdrawn and disillusioned to being inspired and advocating for change. After six months of working with Ohio moms, I am still awed by their energy and desire to make a difference. Together we find ways to provide busy women with opportunities to get involved, work together, and make our collective voice heard. It means, those strangers who sit across from me at those early meetings, are now cherished friends that I respect and admire. It means, I never get out of bed in the morning and dread going to my office.
Getting involved in my community draws something out of my very soul that makes me feel like I am constantly overflowing with love and pride. I know I sound corny, but when other people give up their time to take part in an event that will make make our community stronger, it often brings tears of joy to my eyes. It’s not easy to find time to take action, but when I do, I get caught up in the power of being an active citizen, and I find myself smiling more. I now strike up conversations with strangers in the checkout line. When I see other friends take on their own causes, I want to join in and help. It makes me feel so good, I can’t get enough!
My son is in preschool, but I try to take him to as many events as I can because I want him to see that there are other people who feel like I do about making a difference. I want him to remember a mom who showed him the simple joy of being an active citizen. It is my hope that he will go on to become an adult who teaches his own children the same values.
This job has changed my life. While I do not know where this journey will take me, I do know that I will never sit back again. Please join me: TAKE ACTION TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM AIR POLLUTION