My Mission: Freedom from Poverty
Have you ever really thought about what it means to grow up in poverty in our country?
I'm not just talking about growing up in a family that struggles with poverty. I'm talking about growing up in an entire community where every family is struggling.
That means kids who only get junk food because their parents can't afford (or don't have access to) fresh groceries, who go to schools where the libraries have more empty shelves than full ones and who don't have safe places to study or play after school.
Nearly one in four kids in the U.S. grows up like this. In a country as wealthy as ours, why do we allow this to happen?
How can we expect all our kids to succeed when almost a quarter of our kids don't have the basic tools of life, like books to read and food that helps them growth strong and healthy?
A few years ago, the cast and crew of American Idol started a campaign called Idol Gives Back. We brought together an amazing group of musicians, actors and corporate partners to raise money for kids living in poverty in the U.S. and around the world.
Altogether, we've raised more than $185 million dollars. That's amazing! I'm very proud of the work we've done, but we can't just depend on big events to fight poverty; all of us need to be doing it every day.
In 2010, as part of Idol Gives Back, Morgan Freeman and I visited Mound Bayou, a small town in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions of America. These were great people with great kids, living in a part of the country that had been forgotten by the rest of America.
How unfair is that? Why should these kids have less of a shot at making it because of where they were born? Spending time with these kids got me thinking about how poverty for them isn't an issue on TV or in the newspaper; it's a dark cloud shadowing everything in their lives.
That’s why, this summer, I joined my fellow Save the Children Artist Ambassadors Julianne Moore and Jennifer Garner in taking a stand for kids by signing the Freedom from Poverty pledge.
The pledge is part of the Freedom from Poverty campaign, which runs through Labor Day and is shining a light on this hidden crisis impacting children across the United States.
The campaign aims to give children opportunities to succeed through sponsorship. Sponsorship supports Save the Children’s proven programs that make sure kids have access to books and other tools to help them learn, are eating nutritious food and have safe places to play.
Essentially, it's everything these kids need to have a fair shot in life. Sponsorships are changing the future of children who are all too often forgotten, while providing that crucial one-on-one correspondence with someone who cares.
A sponsor holds the power to encourage, educate and empower. And that gift is priceless.
Today, 16 million kids grow up in poor families, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. We can all do something to help: signing the pledge, sponsoring a child, or even just talking to your kids about how other kids live so that they can help be part of this fight.
But there's no excuse to not do anything. Join me in declaring freedom from poverty!
Twenty two -year music industry veteran, Grammy award winning producer, television producer and author Randy Jackson has worked on over one thousand gold and multi-platinum albums which have sold over 200 million albums worldwide. Randy’s amazing talent, vast studio knowledge, performing, touring and record company expertise has made him one of today’s highly coveted music industry experts. In addition, Jackson is involved with numerous charitable organizations including his role as an U.S. Ambassador for Save the Children.