More: Jennifer, now that you're the artistic ambassador for Save the Children, what can you tell us about the organization?
Jennifer Garner: If you grow up in poverty, by the time you're four years old, you are developmentally 18 months behind kids who are raised in the middle or upper class. One out of six children in the United States is growing up below the poverty line. It's so hard to see kids starting kindergarten so far behind, even in our country. Save the Children is making an effort to reach these kids with education and support for their families.
More: Sounds as if this needs political backing.
JG: Senators Bob Casey and Barbara Mikulski introduced a bill that would increase funding of early-childhood education to include a year of prekindergarten across the country. If we can increase money to early-childhood education on the federal and state levels as well as through corporations like Frigidaire, we can reach kids starting at birth to break the cycle of poverty through education.
More: What does a refrigerator company have to do with this?
JG: Frigidaire has gotten behind Save the Children to raise $500,000. People can go to Frigidaire.com and sign up to commit to eating fresh foods this summer. You’ll get recipes for healthy snacks, and when you click, Frigidaire will donate $1 to Save the Children, and you’ll be entered to win a Frigidaire French Door Refrigerator.
More: And you also want the public in on this?
JG: You can sponsor a child at Savethechildren.org. You’ll receive updates on how your child is doing and how your efforts are helping. You can see pictures and think, Oh my gosh, she looks just like my child, or just like my neighbor’s. It makes the problem—and the solution—real and human.
More: You’ve also been a real advocate for eating fresh and healthy foods.
JG: If you check in with Gowalla—a mobile-phone application—when you visit your local farmers' market to show your commitment to eating fresh and local foods, Frigidaire will donate a dollar toward its $500,000 commitment to Save the Children.
More: Nice win-win.
JG: It's so hard to see kids in your own country who are starting kindergarten so far behind developmentally, but Save the Children is truly making a difference.
Susan Stiffelman is a passionate educator and family therapist and the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected.
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