My One Cent: Kristen Pratt
"Once you know the reality of what is going on in people’s lives around the world, you can’t ignore it."
January 10, 2018
Kristen Pratt is one of CARE’s citizen advocacy fellows for 2017. She’s also the mother of two boys, ages eight and ten. She’s a graduate student studying special education and a long time CARE advocate in Southern California. This is Kristen’s My One Cent Story:
CARE has been a big part of my life for a long time now. I’m a mom, first of all, and I decided to stay home with my kids when they were young. I used to work in the music business but that career didn’t work for me anymore, so, once the boys were both in school, I needed to figure out what to do next. Now, I’m almost finished with my master’s in special education. I’m still not 100% sure what I’m going to do with it, but I love working one-on-one with kids that have learning disabilities and creating plans for their education.
I’ve been volunteering for CARE since the beginning of 2005. After the tsunami in Thailand in December 2004, I was watching the TV footage and I wanted to do something. I was looking for somewhere I could volunteer, searching online and I found CARE. I called and told them that I wanted to help. They were having an event the following week in Los Angeles and they invited me to help out. I did! Then, I hosted a few events at my house and from there I started to do advocacy.
I think most people want to find a way to make a difference and make their voice heard. I’m not comfortable speaking in public and I’m shy about sharing my opinions and speaking out. It has always felt easier for me to speak up for someone else, rather than for myself. I think that’s part of what drew me to CARE. It allowed me to speak up for other people, but at the same time, it gave me a license and opportunity to advocate for myself and say how I feel about things. It’s been really motivating and empowering on a personal level.
When I first got involved with CARE, it was like this whole world opened up for me. CARE does a really great job educating their advocates about foreign assistance issues and the advocacy process. Once you know the reality of what is going on in people’s lives around the world, you can’t ignore it. you have to do something.
Through my education and fellowship with CARE, I realized that foreign assistance for humanitarian emergencies and development impacts everything that happens here at home. It’s a global world and we’re all connected. I feel obligated to advocate because a lot of people around the world don’t have a voice and platform.
I’ve always been almost blindly optimistic, but it’s harder to be optimistic this year than in the past. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way. This political climate has given me a reality check that sometimes, circumstances are out of your control and things don’t work out the way you want. That being said, I’m still optimistic because I’m seeing more people who now feel motivated to speak up and take action.
I‘m really thankful that I’m able to advocate for CARE and to have these opportunities. I’m thankful for the education I’ve received and very thankful for the amazing people I’ve met. I’m thankful that I’ve discovered my own voice and am able to use it.