CELEBRATING PEOPLE, CELEBRATING COMMUNITY FRIENDS!
MOMS HELPING MOMS
Heather Blades of Moms Club Of Fresno North
In September 2015, I happened to stumble upon Moms Club of Fresno North on facebook. I discovered a group of dedicated moms trying to be there for other moms, extending a hand of compassion and providing support to moms in need. It is not only a social group, set up to provide play dates and mother’s time out opportunities to its members but also a 501(c)(3) certified non-profit organization committed to making a difference. I was invited to their clothes and toys swap meeting at Woodward Park library. I met this wonderful group of very busy moms, some expecting, others nursing and then more with kids all ages. I could easily blend in with two minor girls of my own. I joined the club instantly.
Heather Blades is the president of the club. She herself joined the club five years ago when her second son was two years old. Her eldest was twenty and with such an age difference, she wanted to find moms with younger kids to hang out with. That’s when she found Moms Club of Fresno North.
Her inspirational journey from being ‘just a mom’ to the president of moms club of Fresno North involves her commitment to do more than the regular service projects the club has been doing in the past. “The first thing I did to become more involved was to become an activity coordinator,” she told me. “I took that job so I could help plan outings and play dates for the members. It seemed like an easy way to start. I was then nominated and elected to become the Membership VP. I remember what it was like to reach out to the club when I was interested in joining the club and I wanted to provide a friendly and welcoming experience to moms looking to join the club. I was then nominated for President and I was the only one who stayed on the ballot. I guess the inspiration was that I wanted our chapter to continue, so I jumped in with both feet.”
MOMS Club of Fresno North held a Golf tournament and Silent Auction Dinner for the Endowment for Valley Children’s Childhood Cancer Survivorship Program last year. The program provides cancer survivor kids with the education, support and treatment needed to live healthier, happier lives. “Today, an overwhelming majority of childhood cancer patients survive,” says Heather, “However, the same treatments that cure cancer, puts them at risk for long-term health problems resulting from surgery, radiation and/or chemotherapy. We were able to provide the program with a check of $15,701.”
The club has also supported Mighty Moms Foundation, another charitable foundation established by Dr. John Burnett of Fresno, California, which recognizes the intense financial burdens and emotional stress of single mothers, as they undergo cancer treatments. MOMS Club of Fresno North has been able to help two Mighty Mom families with a Thanksgiving meal and one with Christmas dinner and presents for the kids. With the generosity of many of the club members, they were also able to supply one family with household items and furniture that they desperately needed. Here is a video that tells ….. story who was helped by moms club of Fresno north.
“This year, MOMS Club of Fresno North received 4 awards at our yearly Regional Luncheon,” Heather told me. “One was for our support of the Mother to Mother fund, which helps members who have been affected by an emergency. The others were an outstanding chapter award and for our Service projects and Golf tournament. The club also has a Sunshine committee/ helping hand that helps members with meals, babysitting, grocery shopping, house keeping or any other needs during an illness, after having a baby, when on bed rest or in an emergency situation.”
Isn’t it amazing how much stay at home moms can do for the community. Every member gives something to the club. “From the moms that step up and help plan activities or take on a board position to the moms who help with service projects,” says Heather, “It would be hard to just acknowledge a few. Without all of them the club would not be what it is.”
Thank you Heather Blades for playing such an important role in the society. And thanks to all members of Moms Club of Fresno North for welcoming me with open arms and giving me an opportunity to hang out with them and know them better.
Dr. Hina Fatima & Manu Costas
We applaud the efforts of Dr. Hina Fatima & Manu Costas who have been associated with Visit Act Uganda Foundation* for the last one year and have initiated a project of sending books and sports equipment to Kiyemba Vicent, the CEO of this foundation that sponsors three elementary schools in Kampala, Uganda.
Why? Because our mission in simple. Every child deserves opportunity to get best education, the kind we impart here in USA.
Here is what Hina wrote on her linkedin page:
I have known Kiyemba Vicent, the founding member of Visit Act Uganda Foundation for over a year now and have been following his organization quite avidly. Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world, with 37.7% of the population living on less than $1.25 a day. Poverty remains deep-rooted in the country’s rural areas, which is home to more than 85% of Ugandans.
According to an article published in The Guardian earlier this year, by Alon Mwesigwa, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has estimated that 68% of children in Uganda who enrol in primary school are likely to drop out before finishing the prescribed seven years.
In practice, schools have to buy scholastic materials including pens, exercise books, clothing and even bricks for classroom construction. They also have to provide or buy lunch for their children. Some schools ask parents to pay between $2 and $5 a pupil for every three month term so that they can prepare lunch for them. But parents cannot afford to pay, and their children end up dropping out. For poorer parents, especially in rural Uganda, who live on about $1 a day, the cost is beyond reach. An estimated 30% of girls leave school when they start their periods, often because of lack of sanitary pads.
Visit Act Uganda Foundation has helped more than 200 children, youth, women and over 70 families living and affected by HIV/AID’S and poverty. The organization supports 3 elementary schools, provides life saving medicines to HIV positive children and sanitary pads to young girls so that they do not miss school.
Kiyemba Vicent tells us, "Despite the best intentions, there are few state run schools which are free in Uganda and the quality of private schools varies tremendously. The education program, that runs from February through to December, begins with 7 years of primary school education. With up to 100 pupils in a class who fail to pass their leaving examinations, this ends their hopes there.
In the few funds we get, we utilize them by buying scholastic materials like text books, stationary, geometry sets etc. We also pay for the school fee of students, lunch during school and provide sanitary pads to girls. Since the ministry of sports is under the ministry of education, we also support sports activities by buying football, netball, volleyballs and all their gears."
Manu Costas and I, have been frequently in touch with Kiyemba Vicent. His organization's needs are much and donations are little. The challenge for us is to make sure that the much needed support that Kiyemba and his organization needs, reach him safely and in one piece.
For this reason, we created a plan. With the money we raise, we will shop online and have stationary items (pens, pencils, crayons, geometry sets etc) and the sports gear directly shipped to Kiyemba. Lisa Robertson was kind enough to donate her children's elementary school books, who were home schooled here in California. This saves us the effort of purchasing books. However, we do need to cover shipping costs, which according to Manu amount to $100 per 40 lb package. The books weigh around 200 lbs which brings our cost to about $500.
Our aim is to raise a thousand dollars to be able to send these books along with the online shopping of sports gear that we intend to do. And we need your support in doing that. A generous donation or sponsorship is all we need to make this happen. And it will make a world of a difference in a child's life.
Many of us may have not experienced poverty, but some of us have definitely seen it, felt it and gone through it. This is the time to give back, to give back to a community at which no one gives a second look.
Please, we request you. Spread the word, join us in our efforts. This is the time!
RENE SUGAR LECOUR
"Amigo Skate" is a bunch of people, trying to make a difference in the lives of young boys. They provide positive role models, skateboard equipment and skateboarding instructions to at-risk youth of Miami and Havana.