Celebrating the Amazing #BirthdayBash

IMG_3966Growing up birthdays weren’t a big deal in my home, although I really wished they were.  I always felt like I was missing out on something.  There were no birthday cupcakes at school, or birthday parties celebrating another year, but boy did I love the idea of celebrating someone on their day.  After all doesn’t everyone need to feel a little special at some time?  Now as a parent, ever eager to compensate and perhaps live vicariously through my own children, they will never know a missed birthday and instead they know a mom who loves to celebrate EVERYTHING!

This week marks Shot@Life’s 1st Birthday Bash! In celebrating this great milestone during World Immunization Week,  Shot@Life is hosting a 3-day celebration of Shot@Life’s first year through blogs.  Today I am celebrating Angela Youngblood, a blogger at Jumping with my Fingers Crossed, vlogger, a freelance writer, an activist and a mother of four — 11 yr old son, 9 yr old daughter, 6 yr old son and 3 yr old son.  She was inspired by the online community at Shot@Life but caught the fever at Blissdom Dallas last month.  Here’s her story:

What is your earliest or stand-out memory of philanthropy or community service in your life?
One of the most profound memories of service is when I was 18 and suffering from mild depression.  The best cure for me was to get outside of myself, to serve others.  I volunteered at a hospital stuffing envelopes, delivering flowers and wheeling patients to their appointments–connecting with people, helping people.  It changed my life.  After that experience, I have always made service a part of my life.

How did you get involved with Shot@Life?
I read Shot@Life story online and thought what they were doing was really wonderful. Then right after I got off the plane to attend BlissDom in Dallas last month, I got into the shuttle to the hotel and rode over with a group of women from Shot@Life. They were so passionate about helping children I was immediately begging to get on board. Then I met a few other women at the conference and was even more convinced that I wanted to be a part of such a movement.

What does Shot@Life mean to you?
As a mother, I can’t imagine loving my children as much as I do and not be able to protect them from disease. I cannot imagine knowing there is a way I could help my child but not having access to the vaccine.

What have you done with Shot@Life?
Since I just got started with Shot@Life a few weeks ago, I haven’t done anything yet except go through the training and learn about all the wonderful things they are doing.

Do you have a special birthday memory from your childhood?
Not just one memory stands out–it’s a mash up of all my birthdays.  My mother was a big party planner and put a lot of work into each birthday making all of them feel special.  As a kid, I felt loved and celebrated on my birthdays.  And I was encouraged to share that joy with my friends and family.

Any silly secret birthday wish?
I had ice cream cakes, cakes decorated with Smurfette, cakes in the shape of Mickey Mouse, all kinds of cakes.  The one kind of cake I always wanted is one I saw on The Brady Bunch.  Alice brought out a cake with sparklers on it and it was the most beautiful cake I had ever seen.  Someday I would like to have a cake with sparklers on it.  I don’t even know how that would work, I guess everyone would have to sing really fast.  Silly, but it would fulfill some childhood wish.  Maybe for my 40th I’ll get my silly cake with sparklers.

Do you have special traditions for your own children on their birthdays?
I’ve carried on the tradition my mother started of making sure the kids feel loved and celebrated on their birthdays.  Each of the kids has a little something different that we do for them.  When my oldest was very little he had a birthday hat made with balloons that we made him, now he’s too cool but we still sing “You Say It’s Your Birthday” with all our might.  My daughter is usually the last one up in our house, so each year on her birthday the whole family wakes her up with cake, candles and singing happy birthday.

What do you hope to do with Shot@Life?
I can’t wait to get started spreading the word about how we can all help save children’s lives.  I hope to use my voice through social media and locally in my neighborhood to spread the word.  I hope to host a house party soon and maybe a bigger event in the fall. I hope to show people how easy it is to help, how easy it is to make a difference in the lives of children around the world.

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[pullquote style=”left” quote=”dark”]Most days all we can do is jump with our fingers crossed and hope for the amazing…[/pullquote]

Watch out world! She’s ready, she’s eager and she’s gonna make things happen… Angela Youngblood is ready to take action and I can’t wait to see what she does!