My One Cent: Jennifer Sader
“For people in crisis areas and places where there is food insecurity, having access to family planning and healthcare can be lifesaving.”
November 29, 2017
Jennifer Sader lives in Toledo, Ohio and has been advocating for CARE for almost ten years. Sometimes, that includes driving a couple hours to Columbus to meet her Representatives. We asked Jennifer why she advocates with CARE to protect foreign assistance. This is Jennifer’s My One Cent story:
When I first started coming to CARE’s national conference, I was teaching at a small Catholic college in the leadership studies program. I was new at my organization and in the process of looking for community service opportunities.. One of my graduate students suggested I come to the annual CARE National Conference.
I didn’t know much about CARE except for the CARE packages, the older version of CARE. She told me a bit about the organization and how it helped women in the developing world. Once I got to the conference and saw the mission of CARE, it just really lined up with my own values. I was also impressed with how, just as an ordinary person going to D.C. and talking to my Senators and Representatives, I could make a difference.
I was also involved with the American Association for University Women at that time and my dissertation research was on women and girls in computer science, so there was kind of a synergy between working on women’s issues at home and working on women’s issues abroad. CARE provided the chance to focus that on a global scale and do community service in a way that was meaningful to me.
I think there’s a perception that people in “Middle America” or “flyover America” don’t care about global issues, but I think it’s really hard not to care when you see what’s happening. We certainly have issues and problems here at home, but the needs and issues abroad are so much bigger.
I think that women’s health and especially family planning issues are really important and that’s something CARE focuses on. We take it for granted in this country that we can decide for ourselves how many children we want to have and when or whether we want to have children at all. For people in crisis areas and places where there’s food insecurity, having access to family planning and healthcare can be lifesaving. Having the ability to focus on the children they have and keep them safe and well fed versus having more children that they maybe aren’t ready to support… that’s a big issue for me. You also hear such horrible stories of gender-based violence and if we can do anything to prevent that, I think it’s really important to do what we can.
When I go to the conference, sometimes I feel a little intimidated because some people there are doing really giant things. They have big groups of advocates and they’re on a personal, first name basis with their Senators and Representatives. I’m not quite in that position but I am able to visit my Members of Congress in district. I live in Toledo so there isn’t a fully staffed Senator’s office here so I usually go to Columbus to do in district meetings. I’ve also written to our Representatives on certain issues and I had a letter to the editor published in the Toledo Blade about the Syrian refugee crisis.
I’m really happy I got involved with CARE when I did and that I’ve had this chance. Next year is year ten for me and during that time we’ve seen a lot of things, like passage of the Global Food Security Act and consideration of IVAWA, the International Violence Against Women Act. I think it’s easy to feel like you’re shouting into the darkness but it actually does make a difference, just the little things that we do.
To register for this year's conference, please visit careconference.org.