Six years ago, Syrian teen Nabil fled Syria with his family. They stayed for four years in a small apartment in Jordan, all the while doing everything they could to find a permanent, stable, safe home. Now Nabil and his family have settled in Seattle, where he plays forward on his soccer team, volunteers with a Muslim organization to reach out to local homeless people and welcomes other Syrian refugees as they arrive and begin to rebuild their lives.
This World Refugee Day, which is marked across the globe on June 20, nonprofits, governmental organizations and regular citizens like you and me can recognize the immense resilience of refugees like Nabil. I got to interview Nabil for my work with Microsoft Philanthropies, which is sharing stories of refugee youth to direct donations to its nonprofit partners such as the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps, the UNHCR and more. And stories like Nabil’s, and the tens of thousands of others like him, inspire us to want to know how to help refugees.
When Kiwi was a few months old, a friend texted me.
“I’m coming over. Be there in 15.”
I was a little surprised—we’d met a month or two earlier in moms’ group, and our babies were mere weeks apart, so we didn’t know each other terribly well. I didn’t really know what to expect.
When she arrived, I welcomed her into my home, trying not to think of the dog hair tumbleweeds and last night’s dinner-coated dishes still on the counter.
“I’m here to guerrilla help,” she said, stepping inside. “You never take me up on my offers to help. But here I am.”
She set down her baby, who was sleeping in her car seat, and asked if I’d rather she do a load of laundry or scrub my shower.
She ended up bouncing Kiwi, who woke up from a two-minute nap and refused to go back to sleep. But that was a bigger help than battling shower scum to a harried, exhausted, desperate mother who spent nearly every minute of the day trying to get a baby to sleep.
My friend did something special that day. She rescued me from one more attempt to bounce my baby to sleep—the time that may have pushed me over the edge. She let me know I wasn’t alone. She showed up when even I didn’t know I needed her. She lived what should be the international mother’s motto: Don’t ask. Just help. Read more
Peeper loves her some animals, and birds are no exception. I once called a bird that landed on the telephone wire a blue jay; she corrected me: “No, Mama, that’s a stellar jay.” (#schooledbyatoddler)
In a book she adores that has photos of pretty much every animal on the planet, she points to the birds with silly names and giggles uncontrollably as I recite them: plain chachalaca, hoopoe and the blue-crowned motmot.
And she has loved some of our recent projects to help our neighborhood’s resident birds.
We were inspired to learn how kids can help birds by a recent suggested service project from Giving Families, a monthly mail subscription that sends kids ideas to help others. It included instructions on how to help birds build nests, making a cozy home for all those chirping chicks that will be hatching this spring.
Peeper didn’t want to stop there. If your kids want to help birds, too, here are a few super-easy, way quick ideas to support our feathered friends. Read more