Parents are confronted with problems all day every day, and it's hard enough just to find solutions that help your kids. But for these three parents, the problems they faced made them pause and consider how many other kids might be facing the same thing. Let their stories serve as inspiration for how you can turn the negatives into positives in your own life.
Making doctor visits less scary
Every parent knows the anxiety of taking their child to the doctor for a shot. As a mom and pediatrician, Dr. Amy Baxter has been on both sides, both giving the shots and watching her son squirm. Determined to make shots less of a big deal – and eliminate some of the pain – Baxter came up with a way to create what is essentially a vibrating ice-pack wrapped in a cute bee. The idea behind it is that it will interrupt pain signals on their way to the brain.
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The National Institutes of Health was so impressed by Baxter's idea that she was awarded a $1 million grant. Now, her company Buzzyhas several offshoot products, all making getting a shot virtually pain-free.
Keeping military kids connected during deployment
One of the greatest sacrifices that the men and women fighting for our country make is being away from their families during long stints of deployment. It's not only hard on the spouse left at home without the extra support, but a soldier missing out on his or her child's big milestones and the simple, everyday moments is heartbreaking.
Marine wife Alia Reese knows this all too well, but she found a way to make deployment just a little bit easier for families. Reesepublished two books, "My Daddy Is a Marine" and "My Mommy Is a Marine," allowing families to include their own photos inside. Serving as a story/photo album, it's a small yet powerful way to keep families connected while separated.
Dad on a mission to give every hungry kid a good lunch
Mark Alvarado knows what it's like not having enough money for lunch at school. Growing up, his family lived below the poverty line and depended on government assistance. When his teenage daughter asked him to pack an extra lunch one day for a classmate in need, it reminded him of the shame of standing in the food line and asking for a discounted meal. Even when kids can get free lunch at school, they are often too embarrassed to ask for it.
To help erase the stigma – especially for teens who are already so self-conscious – he teamed up with actor Jeff Bridges, who lives in his community and is a spokesman for No Kid Hungry. Together, they started throwing events, giving out free meals with a festival feel featuring live music, so it's more fun than embarrassing.Last year, they served over 120,000 meals in their Santa Barbara community where 21 percent of kids live below the poverty line. The kids left full and had fun.