The nation has been rocked by the story of Mariah Woods; the beautiful 3 year old girl who was reported missing on November 27, 2017 in Jacksonville North Carolina. Like all of you since the day of her disappearance I have been following the case hoping that Mariah would be found alive and safe.
Our worst fears were confirmed as baby Mariah's body was found 25 miles from her home. Funeral services are now being planned to lay her to rest. A public visitation was held at Jones Funeral Home in Jacksonville today, and as the investigation continues, so does the public's frustration as the media covers details on the case leaving many to wonder what they can do to help and honor Mariah's memory?
While grief brings on so many emotions and we are all so sad about this tragedy, there are many ways to honor Mariah in a way that will also help others. Below I have compiled a short list.
1. Adopt a pet from a shelter. Many of these pets are neglected and/or abused so why not help an animal find a wonderful forever home?
2. Volunteer at an after school program. There are many programs such as the boys and girls club and other mentor clubs that always need volunteers to help supervise and tutor children.
3. Give to a foster child for the holidays. This is something I have done for years and all it takes is contacting your county social services office and they will give you a list of items needed and the age of the child to buy them gifts for the holidays!
4. Become a foster parent. In January 2017 North Carolina was called "a state of crisis" when discussing the increase in the amount of children in foster care due to the growing drug problem and the lack of foster and adoptive parents. If you are able and have a good, loving home, become a foster parent or consider adoption to give a child a better life.
5. Become a child advocate. Organizations similar to CASA are around in each state and county for people to volunteer as guardian ad litem's for children who need a court appointed advocate to help represent them while they are in the system. Part of being an advocate involves knowing how the child is doing at home and in school and actually doing home visits to check on their welfare. Help be a child's voice!
6. Create something new. If you are frustrated that there is something missing from your community that you feel would benefit children in need or anyone for that matter then figure out a way to create the missing thing that could help. Make your dream a reality!