On Monday, the Mindr community gathered at Bluestone Lane in Hoboken for an inspiring roundtable on everyday advocacy, unpacking the ways each of us can make a positive impact on the world from exactly from where we're at today.
Our conversation was led by Audrey Symes, a stay-at-home-mama who discovered the far-reaching impacts when families can't afford diapers, and realized she had the power to do something about it. Audrey has collected and donated 25,000 diapers to date, armed with only her trusty stroller and changemaker daughter Elizabeth by her side. We also heard from Mary Madoule of the National Diaper Bank Network and Jerusha Oleksiuk of the Moms Helping Moms Foundation, two incredible organizations that are coordinating diaper collections and donations in Jersey and across the country.
From Monday's discussion, here are 4 things you need to know about diaper need and everyday advocacy:
1. 1 in 3 American families have trouble affording diapers. A recent survey by the National Diaper Bank Network and Huggies found that the average cost of diapers for one child is $18 per week, or $936 a year. Not having access to sufficient diapers can lead to health complications like diaper rash and infections, and can also mean accessing daycare is difficult (since providing enough disposable diapers is generally a condition of enrollment) and therefore can impact parents' ability to work. So the effects of diaper need reach way further into families' lives than you might think.
2. It's really easy to donate your leftover diapers to families who need them. The National Diaper Bank Network is a collective of organizations all around the country who will take your spare diapers and get them into the hands of people who need them. To donate diapers, just check the directory for the organization in your area and contact them to arrange a collection or drop-off. Karla from Little Hoboken, who participated at Monday's event, suggested organizing a diaper drive as an option in lieu of gifts for birthday parties or other celebrations, which we thought was a great idea.
3. It's also easier than you think to make an outsize impact on whatever social cause is close to your heart. We asked Audrey how she managed to mobilize herself and her community to make such a huge contribution to families with diaper need, and her response can be summarized in four words: "I just did it." So often, we want to make a difference but have no idea how to start. Audrey suggests choosing one manageable step to get the ball rolling (for her, it was a post on her local Facebook mom group offering to come around and collect diapers from anyone in her area who wanted to donate.)
4. Surrounding yourself with like-minded people can be critical to getting started. We saw the magic in the room on Monday. Just to give you one example, we loved seeing Daniela of Yogimommy connect with Amy and Regina of Skip and Play to strategize for a mommy-and-me yoga series, fulfilling Daniela's aim of serving moms' mental health needs and Amy and Regina's mission to create meaningful play opportunities for kids. Every project is easier when we can feed off the energy and ideas of people who share our goals, values and ambitions. We'd love for you to join us in future for more community-building initiatives like this one.
We're so energized by this deep and wide-ranging discussion about the power each of us has to make an impact. Check out the snaps by Lindsay Donnelly Photography below, and be sure to sign up for Mindr in your inbox and join our online community on Instagram and Facebook to stay in the know about future events. Big thanks to everyone who participated in person and on Facebook Live, and to our wonderful partners for this event: Bluestone Lane, Skip and Play, EatMetal Inc. and Lindsay Donnelly Photography.