Spark a fire for gun reform: 4 things you can do to stop gun violence

Days like yesterday, I just want to burn shit down.

I, like so many, woke up to news about dozens dead and hundreds injured after an angry man opened fire on a sea of strangers in Las Vegas. And then I went through what many of us have experienced so often before: Shock. Anger. Sadness. Frustration.

The terror, then grief, thrust upon hundreds is absolutely needless—and preventable. That’s why I am so furious: Because events like those in Las Vegas (and Orlando, and Sandy Hook, and San Bernadino, and Aurora, and many more) are predictable. They will keep happening—unless we as a country do something about it.

Inspirational quote: You can't start a fire without a spark. Actions to take to end gun violence. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

How your family can help kids thrive in school

I’m still riding the enthusiasm and excitement from the back to school season over here. Peeper is already adjusted to her half-days of pre-K (no tears, just a quick squeeze before we say goodbye!). And Kiwi just started homeschool preschool—more on that later! But not every child has what she needs to excel in school.

Back to school season is exciting - but not every child has what she needs to succeed. Here, 4 things your family can do to help. Ten Thousand Hour MamaBack to school time is exciting, but many kids don't have everything they need to succeed. Here are 4 ways your family can do good. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

School supplies lists can get expensive (the average family spent $100-200 on the required pens, pencils and binders, according to a national study), and that’s not even factoring in other expenses like clothes, electronics (required by many schools) and other items.

I wrote about how we can help ensure all the kids in our community start school ready to learn and thrive in my latest column for PDX Parent.

In it, I explore how even families with little kids—who don’t have many opportunities to volunteer in the traditional sense because they’re too young—can pitch in.

Your kids may be too young to volunteer, but any family can do good in their community by helping all children thrive in this back to school season. Here, 4 things you can do to help! Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

7 ways to raise a conservationist: Kids + the environment

There has never been a more important time to raise a conservationist. Every day headlines bring more bad news about droughts, climate change, melting polar ice, threatened species and deforestation. I couldn’t blame you for being depressed.

Yet there is room for hope, and perhaps the best way to ensure a better world for our children is to raise a conservationist right in your own home.

It's more important than ever to raise a conservationist. Families and children can do good and protect the environment, too. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

After all, kids are more likely to teach each other lessons that will stick. (Have you ever heard a kid tell a peer to recycle something or turn out the lights? They’re way more likely to listen than to another parent’s lecture!)

Kids also encourage their families to make positive changes for the environment. I remember becoming a vegetarian in high school, largely because of environmental reasons, and sharing what I learned with my parents. I definitely didn’t convert anyone (nor was I trying to), but my parents started to serve more plant-based foods that had a smaller environmental impact.

Perhaps the most impactful (and easiest) way to raise a conservationist is to simply get outside: A study from Cornell University found that the more time a child under the age of 11 spent outdoors, the more likely he or she was to care about the environment as an adult. The impacts of Vitamin N, as outdoor time is sometimes called, translate into action, too: Adults who spent time outside when they were growing up were more likely to take action to protect the environment.

You don’t have to stop there, though. These 7 ways to raise a conservationist won’t take a ton of effort but can mean a world of difference for the planet.

It's more important than ever to raise a conservationist. Families and children can do good and protect the environment, too. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Doing good every day in January: What I learned

A Martin Luther King Jr. quote about doing good and making a difference. Ten Thousand Hour MamaAs you might recall, my New Year’s resolution was to do something good every day. In January, I just about succeeded at that. I missed a day here and there, but overall, I made progress on my resolution. In January, I helped build the world I believe in.

It hasn’t been entirely easy, and every day I fight against feeling overwhelmed. But I remember Mark Bezos’s quote and push myself to make someone else’s life better, even in a small way.

“It’s so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good because you’re hoping to do something great.

Don’t wait. If you have something to give, give it now.”

—Mark Bezos, Ted Radio Hour, Giving It Away

Here’s what I learned by doing good every day in January. Read more

How this family helps the homeless: Kids doing good

When Kristin Corona woke up to 10 inches of snow outside her Portland-area home earlier this month, her mind immediately turned to building snowmen, sledding and making snow angels with her two kids. But that’s not what Lucas, 6, thought of.

As he stared out the window at the untouched snow, he told his mom, “I’m really worried about people who don’t have houses right now.”

Kristin paused. “What can we do about it?” she wondered aloud.

That question has inspired ongoing action in the Corona household and beyond—through a kid-created Share the Warmth Club.

These kids do good and make a difference to help the homeless in the winter. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Do good every day: My New Year resolution

“It’s so easy to dismiss the opportunity to do something good because you’re hoping to do something great.

Don’t wait. If you have something to give, give it now.”

—Mark Bezos, Ted Radio Hour, Giving It Away

I’m usually not huge into New Year’s resolutions—I prefer writing gratitude lists and making incremental changes that don’t overwhelm me (or disappoint when I don’t follow through). But in 2017, I wanted to do a kind of resolution that feels imperative: to do good every day.

Sure, I could resolve to exercise every day or cut out sugar or lose just enough weight so I feel comfortable in jeans again. But this year I need to put my values into action and make the world a little better.

Some New Year's resolutions can change the world. I'm resolving to do good every day. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Stretch your holiday charitable giving: Donate on any budget

My family isn’t unlike yours, I bet: Our budget is always tight, especially during the holidays, when we face extra expenses like Christmas presents, travel and OH MY GOSH CANDY CANE JOE-JOES. (Don’t deny it; you stock up, too.) But that doesn’t mean we scrimp on our holiday charitable giving.

Generosity and a commitment to helping others are central family values in this house. For us, that means giving to nonprofits throughout the year, but we always increase our donations during the holidays. (The giving spirit is in the air—or wait, maybe that’s pumpkin spice and evergreen scent!)

When it comes to our holiday charitable giving this year, I want to get the most bang for my buck. I’m betting you do, too. So no matter if your budget is super tight or as expansive as Bill and Melinda Gates’, here’s how to make the biggest change with your money.

This Christmas, make sure every dollar makes the biggest impact with your holiday charitable giving. 10 tips to make generosity and charity possible for any budget. Read more