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Jason Priestly Drinking Water

Children’s Safe Drinking Water: An Interview with Jason Priestley

charity, FAM By February 25, 2015 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

How important is water? Very. A lemonade stand to raise funds for water wells is fabulous, but there are still 1800 kids who die EVERY DAY due to the lack of clean water in their communities. A billion people around the world don’t have access to safe water. Even with access to medications, people often take their pills with toxic water – it’s the only option.

A  lack of education means that some wells are dug only feet away from the spots where latrines are situated, causing even more harmful bacteria.

P&G Clean Water - Jason Priestley 1UrbanMommies had the opportunity to conduct an interview with Jason Priestley – actor, director and activist who travelled to the Dominican Republic and is working to promote the Children’s Safe Drinking Water program (CSDW). Since the program launched, it has succeeded in donating over 20 million days of clean drinking water to those in need, and we hope to reach our goal of 25 million days of clean drinking water by March 31, 2015.

It doesn’t take a lot to make a big difference. Just 10 cents provides one P&G water purification packet that creates 10 liters of clean water. The packets are stirred into 10 litres of water and after ten minutes, the water can be strained through cloth (even a t-shirt works) and is safe to drink.

Just $1 gives a child clean water for 50 days.
$7.50 gives a child clean water for a year.
$30 gives a family clean water for a year.

Procter & Gamble and Walmart have partnered in a simple program to provide water to people in need. Every P&G product sold at Walmart Canada will provide 1 day of clean drinking water for a family. And these are the products you are buying anyway like Tide, Gillette, Bounce, Pantene and Tampax.

Here’s our exclusive interview with talented and kind Dad, Jason Priestley.

P&G Clean Water - Jason Priestley 3UM: There are so many charities and people in need – why water?

JP: I am a dad. 1600 children die every day. Its shocking to us who live in Canada where there in such an abundance of drinking water. This is a simple program that makes huge difference in people’s lives.

UM: I read your piece on your trip to the Dominican. When I travelled to Liberia with Right to Play I saw the need for clean water and also health education. How does Children’s Safe Drinking Water choose where to help? What about education?

JP: Kids can’t go to school half the time because they’re sick. There’s not enough education. We need to do something to break that cycle – water is one of the basic building blocks of society. Clean water makes people healthy and strong so they can get to school.

UM: You have 2 children – how to you teach them to be socially conscious?

JP: That’s one of the big challenges we all face. It’s difficult but I try to look at everything as a potential teachable moment. Scarcity and the importance of water is all around us – in California too. Water is a precious commodity. We talk a lot about the importance of helping others, not just giving people money but the tools they need to improve their lives. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime. Water is a tool. It restores people’s health and also their dignity, improving their lives and the strength of the community.

UM: How can Canadians help?

JP: This is such a simple program. Go to a Walmart store or walmart.ca and buy the household products you use every day. P & G takes care of donating. It’s a 1 for 1 swap. 1 product = 1 day of drinking water for a family.

So far they’ve given 21 Million days of safe drinking water to families in developing countries.

UM: How do they determine where to distribute the water purification packets?

JP: They work with not for profit agencies across the globe to determine need. Unsafe drinking water kills more kids every year than HIV, aids and malaria combined.

UM: I know I went through many life changes after visiting Liberia. What was your big take-away, as a dad, after travelling to the Dominican?

JP: I loved the children. Children are the same everywhere you go: happy, joyous, playful and beautiful. There kids playing in the dirt with a ball and stick are no different than my children. I felt the need to help them. They are innocent, joyous and pure and they deserve better. We can see what the future hold for these kids even when they can’t.

A billion people don’t have access to safe water. 1600 kids die every day.

You can learn more at Walmart.ca/cleanwater

Disclosure: I am a P&G Mom and was give then chance to interview Jason Priestley. I was not compensated for this article and all opinions are my own.

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Do Ya Wanna Build a House?

charity, FAM By May 15, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

Women Build with Habitat For HumanityThere have been many times over the years when I’ve wanted Elsa’s powers. Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could build a whole mansion with the flick of a hand like Disney’s Frozen star? Or maybe master a project that’s a tad less extensive – like tiling a floor, using a jigsaw or hanging a light fixture. There are thousands of people across the country who need housing, live in poverty and feel isolated. The power of community and charity can not only transform not only the individuals in need, but also empower the people who want to help others.  There are problem-solving women across Canada who can help while working as a team and developing construction skills in the process. The women build with Habitat for Humanity does just this. Perfection!

Habitat for Humanity Women BuildWhat family doesn’t want simple, decent and affordable housing? As an ambassador and fan of Procter & Gamble, I have been asked to represent UrbanMommies and put together a team of women in the Vancouver area to build a home!  The program is part of a three year partnership totalling $900,000, that will see P&G support Habitat’s family home builds throughout the county, on behalf of its Household Needs brands such as Tide, Swiffer and Mr. Clean. This year there are builds happening in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal and approximately 350 new builds are expected across Canada in 2014.

After a group of ten women (and any UrbanDaddies who wish to help) participate in a build in Richmond in September,  P&G will offer cleaning kits to Habitat for Humanity affiliates to help ready the newly built homes for move-in once construction is complete, and will provide welcome baskets packed full of household products to each family moving into their new Habitat home. I am going to try to slip in a few Rainbow Loom treasures from my kids in as well. Because every new home needs some of those.

Habitat Women BuildHabitat for Humanity is a special charity, and I love that one hundred percent of all administrative and fundraising costs are paid for by the operation of nine ReStores in the lower mainland. It’s great when not a dime is wasted.

So… Do ya wanna build a house? Join our team in September for a one-day build! Learn new skills, bond, help others, and be a community. Because love is an open door. (You didn’t think I’d let the Frozen theme go that easily did you?) Please email us to indicate your interest in helping out and I will be in touch!

All Women Build photos provided by Habitat for Humanity.

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A Visit to the Procter and Gamble Archives

beauty, GEAR By March 25, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Procter Gamble ArchivesWhenever I see Oil of Olay I think of my grandmother. Her skin was perfect and smooth and I always wanted to smell like her. During a tour of the Procter and Gamble archives I was thrown back in time as I saw the exact bottles that graced her dresser. And the Pampers that I would have worn as a baby. The Tide my mom used as I lay in a laundry basket as a toddler while she folded and watched ‘Soaps’.  The company began in 1837 by William Procter, a candlemaker, and James Gamble, a soapmaker.

Pampers

Cool Facts:

In 1911, P&G began producing Crisco, a shortening made of vegetable oils rather than animal fats. During the 1920s, radio was gaining popularity and the company sponsored advertisements on radio programs. This is why these shows, and later their TV counterparts became known as “soap operas.”

There were four P&G products on the space shuttle Columbia. Can you guess? Oral-B toothpaste, Charmin toilet paper, Old Spice Deodorant and Gillette razors.

In 1926 Camay was introduced to meet the demand for perfumed beauty soaps.

The first detergent-based shampoo was called Drene in 1934.

Tide was introduced in 1946 and was so superior to anything on the market (and so reasonably priced) that it became known as a ‘washing miracle’ and was the leading US brand by 1950.

Ivory Soap

1961 was the year that changed all years for Moms…. Pampers were introduced.

The history of such a huge, successful company can’t be taken lightly, and the archives were a testament to positive corporate culture and pride. I could have spent hours touching the bottles, seeing the progress and losing myself in history.

Gain and Downy

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A Safe Home is a Happy Home

FAM, health, kids By February 7, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

safe-home-happy-homeJust when we thought the #ThankYouMom Sochi 2014 video was the pinnacle of awesome. Now, In the first ever program of it’s kind, P&G is helping parents remember that a safe home is a happy home.

Our homes can be deceptive. We feel so safe and comfortable that we may overlook a few dangers for ourselves and our children. Part of the ritual when we are pregnant and new parents includes endless research on ‘babyproofing’. But are we so distracted by the mounds of advice that we are forgetting the big stuff?

Whether it is in the kitchen, laundry room or bathroom, a few simple steps will ensure that all areas in the house are safe. From making sure the batteries in the smoke detectors are fresh to checking that the First Aid kit has everything you need to care for bumps and scrapes, there are plenty of quick and affordable things families can do around the house to help protect loved ones.

Everyone expects, and deserves, the best for their family, and P&G wants to arm Canadian families with resources and information that will help keep their home as safe as it can be.

To make the process easier, P&G has developed a Starter Kit to help Canadians create a safe environment at home. The Starter Kit includes cabinet latches and a specially designed over-the-lid re-sealable sticker that will keep products out of reach of children, and bring households one step closer to a safe home. P&G is offering the Starter Kits to all Canadian families, free of charge.

Laundry Sticker Kit


In addition to getting your free Starter Kit, we have some simple tips for parents to keep their family and home safe:

1. Make sure to read directions carefully for every product you use.
2. Clean up spills and wash your hands if you get products on them.
3. Discard or recycle empty packaging – don’t re-use.
4. Always place plastic covers in your electrical outlets.
5. Keep all small electrical appliances a safe distance from sinks, bathtubs, and showers.
6. Install smoke detectors and a carbon monoxide alarm on every floor of your home, including the basement.
7. Have a well-stocked First Aid kit somewhere in your home where you can easily get to it.
8. Most importantly – keep all products out of reach of children.  Whether it’s laundry detergent, softeners, cleaning sprays or air fresheners, everything should be stored so that children simply can’t get to it

A home is truly the heart of the family. Having a home that’s happy, comfortable and clean is important – and so is making sure it’s safe.

Do you have additional tips? We’d love to hear them!

 

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money saving tips

Smart Cookies: Sandra Hanna’s Top 10 Tips for Saving Money

FAM, self By February 20, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

February is my least-favourite month.  And not just because the only time I was ever dumped was on Valentine’s Day.  Daft cow.  Anyway, holiday bills are still flowing in and the Canadian and US governments are all talking about budgets and fiscal responsibility.  Ugh.  But where finances and family budgeting used to be considered ‘I wish I were an ostrich’ words, Sandra Hanna, co-founder and CEO of Smart Cookies has turned me around.  In sharing her top 10 tips for saving money, she suggests throwing out the term ‘budget’ (too much pressure) and finding hidden ways to save money – making it into a game.  She had so many tips I couldn’t write them fast enough.  I was so inspired and challenged to take charge of my finances.

A Smart Cookie’s Tips on How to Save Money

1.  Sell things you don’t need.  Along the ‘game’ lines, we’ve had a blast taking photos of items and being creative with descriptions.  Taking interesting photos and using terms like “Pottery barn-style dresser” and “shabby chic” can get an item sold quickly.
2.  Instead of heading to the store constantly, save time and money by using food you already haveSupercook.com and Myfridgefood.com will give you recipes with items that you have on hand (and may be craving…)  The recipes they suggest may also get you out of a rut and help your kids to expand their culinary horizons.
3.  Cardswap.ca is a gift card swap so that you can mail in a card you’ll never use and replace it with either cash or a card you need.  While Aunt Betty was kind in giving you a giftcard for a movie, the extra dinner and childcare costs make it not so budget-friendly.  Swap it for something like a new slowcooker – and save even more on comfort food.
4.  Search for the hidden money in your household.  This can be a fun one for children too.  Turning off lights, using Tide Coldwater to save on hot water bills and making a fire instead of turning up the heat can be fun as well as rewarding.  PGeveryday.ca is a great resource for coupons on products you use all the time and the PG Brand Sampler allows you to be sent free products to try.
5.  Hair schools provide a great inexpensive alternative to pricy salons.
6.  Rent, don’t buy expensive clothes.  If you live in the US, Rent the Runway. Enter your zip code, size and event date up to 6 months in advance and our calendar will help find available dresses and accessories. You can book rentals for a 4 or 8 day period.  In Canada?  Rent Frock Repeat. They send you 2 sizes to ensure a good fit.
7.  Choose your apps wisely.  Purchasing apps can be fun – .99 cents here, $2.99 there.  It can add up.  Buy when they are free or on sale – with  Freeappaday.com and Appminer.com and make sure you try the free versions first to ensure you will actually use them.
8.  Apps like www.groceryzen.com allow you to eliminate impulse grocery buys by organizing your grocery list aisle by aisle. (And you won’t forget the milk).
9.  Control your own Entertainment: Vimeo lets you live stream your apple TV and curate your own content.
10.  Save your time (and money) by never waiting on hold with Gethuman.com

One of the key changes I have made is registering for Mint.com, an app and website that tracks my bank accounts, credit cards and budgets.  (Why, exactly did I think $50/month was adequate for clothes?  Funny joke..)  It takes a bit of investigation to realize that your information and passwords are secure, but once you make the leap, you will never be in the dark about your spending patterns.

Sandra’s other inspiration?  Respect moms.  Whether you work outside the home or focus on saving money inside the home (or both), Moms are a very powerful bunch in the financial and budgeting world.

Jill Amery was given the opportunity to interview Sandra Hanna as part of the #PGMom program through Proctor and Gamble.  As always, her opinions are her own.

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brand ambassador

On being a brand ambassador

grow, LIVE By November 17, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

As my readers know, this is a magazine – not a blog.  From time to time I (as the publisher) feel the need to pontificate.  (Hopefully with wit and good grammar.)  Hold your tongue  – you readers with hefty English degrees..  This one is  ‘on being an ambassador’ (and I’m one for writing like I speak).

I was invited to an overview of P&G products.  Having been a McDonald’s All-Access Mom I know what it means to align yourself with a brand.  (Insert nail biting here).  You must know everything about the company and it’s practices – often more than the employees or executives.  You must field questions via social media, be honest on camera and willing to put in 14-hour days.  You must be an investigative reporter with discerning questions (without being kicked out of the program entirely – for what good would that do?).

I admit that I hesitated.  The McDonald’s experience was more than I had bargained for and yet I discovered a company and culture that were incredible.  And then I was asked to be a P&G Mom.  Who was I to demerit another ‘huge’ company based on rumour and social media pressure?  But the term ‘ambassador’ has certain responsibilities.  I agreed to see what they had to say.  I knew that given my experience, I was able to ask the right questions.  I was willing to take the social media heat.

So I went.  And I am so thrilled I did.  Of course I’m a ‘Four Season’s girl (they hosted it there) and love trying new products (which many of us have donated and have been sent to Hurricane Sandy victims in New York with the help of Coach USA).   But there was more.  More good.  More positive.

The executives I spoke to about toxicity and environmental responsibility emailed me back the next day (on a Saturday) with specific answers.  The PR folks were proactive in addressing my concerns.  Other executives from Proctor and Gamble delved into my mind, looked into my eyes over dinner – and they REALLY wanted to know how I felt about…  laundry – not just their laundry products.  I felt as if I could make an impact.  If I am honest, open and transparent – when I bring concerns from my readers to the appropriate people – perhaps I / we can help guide the direction of the company.  I really believe this is what P&G had in mind with the program.

On the big day of the conference, P&G hired a moderator to get feedback from real moms on so many of their products.  That’s corporate responsibility.  That’s smart.  (It also gives them a huge savings on big-idea consulting.).  When the McDonald’s executives discussed their program over dinner with the 4 moms involved in the All-Access program, I certainly felt as if we had made an impact.  The CEO took handwritten notes. He asked a hundred questions.  (And only a portion of our feedback was positive. But they didn’t want to hear the positive stuff.)  They wanted the moms’ perspective on what needed to be changed to make them a better company.  They know what they do well.  They want to be better.  And as true ‘ambassadors’, we were in a position to tell them.

That’s what an ‘ambassador’ means.  You need to know more about the company than most of the employees.  And be willing to be smart and mature on social media.  You need to think outside the box.  To seriously consider negative feedback from social media and take a risk to get the real answers.  You need to meet the people behind the company – the chemists and farmers and salespeople.  This is why companies are paying attention to Mom ambassadors.  That is what will propel the profession and help the public connect with the brands.  And that is why any time we agree to the role of ‘ambassador’, it is a big job.  A big responsibility.

From what I have heard and read so far, I am very much an ambassador.  But I chose to get my BA in theatre and politics – not in chemistry or sales – and I cannot learn all of these arts in a few days.  So I invite all of my readers – just as I did as a McDonald’s All-Access Mom – to ask questions.  You know more than I do about your own experience as a Mom and a professional – and as an ambassador, I am simply a conduit to extracting honest and relevant answers.  We’re all parents.  We all want healthy, happy kids.  Ask me.  I assure you I will get the answers.  That’s what an ambassador does.

 

 

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