Let’s be honest. Most of us won’t celebrate our 100th birthday. Luckily, for the world and the 1 billion children whose lives have been changed for the better, Global Impact’s charity partner Save the Children is celebrating their centennial this year! Save the Children began in 1919 with a campaign to save suffering children across war-torn Europe in the aftermath of World War I.

The more things change…
Imagine what life was like 100 years ago. Our lives are very different today versus how they were for people living in 1919. For example, 100 years ago:

  • You could go to the movie theater, but the film was silent, and the picture was black and white.
  • You could buy a loaf of bread for 10 cents, but of course, the average annual income for a middle-class American family was only $1,500.
  • If you were a woman, you could not vote.

…the more they stay the same.
On the other hand, some things remain disturbingly similar. Children around the world deserve to grow up healthy, with access to a good education, in a safe environment. That wasn’t always the case in 1919, and it still isn’t today. It is disappointing that we continue to struggle with the original mission Save the Children faced in 1919: helping children in war-torn regions.

What has Save the Children done to help?
Over the past 100 years, Save the Children has leapt into action to improve the lives of children whenever and wherever it was needed most. Save the Children was founded in 1919 and began its concept of child sponsorship during the aftermath of World War I. During the 1930s, Save the Children expanded into the Appalachian region of the United States to provide food, clothing, and school supplies to children during the Great Depression. Soon after, another world war brought new atrocities for children in Europe, and Save the Children was there to help children escape Nazi Germany and to support displaced children, including concentration camp survivors, after the conflict. This legacy continues to the present day in the aftermath of natural disasters and during periods of conflict.

How can you take action?
As we’ve seen, Save the Children, and organizations like them, have made great advances in promoting children’s rights and improving children’s lives around the world. Child mortality and malnutrition rates have dropped drastically and 91% of children in the developing world are now enrolled in school – but the work is not finished.

To celebrate Save the Children’s centennial, consider baking a birthday cake and blowing out all 100 candles in one breath. Just kidding! Here are a few realistic ways you can honor Save the Children’s achievements and show your support for the cause of helping children around the world have a better life:

  1. Donate $100
    Support Save the Children’s Centennial Campaign, which seeks to raise $100 million this year.
  2. Volunteer 100 Hours
    Sign up to volunteer with Save the Children directly, or look for ways to enrich the lives of children in your community: tutor at your local elementary school, read at story time at your local library, serve as a youth leader at a church or camp.
  3. Inspire 100 Random Acts of Kindness
    If you do 10 nice things for people around you, and some of those people do 10 nice things for people around them, you will soon create a chain of kindness – maybe even more than 100.
  4. Be Thankful for 100 Things
    During this season of Thanksgiving, many of us turn our thoughts to the things we are most thankful for. This year, keep a list and see if you can reach 100. I’ll start: I am thankful for organizations like Global Impact and Save the Children who work every day to make our world a better place.