I have been looking at the photographs which Leigh has put on Facebook showing you all on Christmas Day opening your presents. It looked like a really fun day - and obviously the obligatory silly face photo had to be included!
The photos aren't quite right of course - because there is still that one person who should be there too. I don't really know what I believe about what happens after we die, all I know is that Austin would have been happy that all of his family were together and that the silliness continues. I miss him.
After I received your email about our charitable donations this year I could not help thinking about children. And after doing some research into the plethora of charities out there I have decided to pledge $750 to UNICEF.
"We believe that nurturing and caring for children are the cornerstones of human progress. UNICEF was created with this purpose in mind – to work with others to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease
We advocate for measures to give children the best start in life, because proper care at the youngest age forms the strongest foundation for a person’s future.
We promote girls’ education – ensuring that they complete primary education as a minimum – because it benefits all children, both girls and boys. Girls who are educated grow up to become better thinkers, better citizens, and better parents to their own children.
We act so that all children are immunized against common childhood diseases, and are well nourished, because it is wrong for a child to suffer or die from a preventable illness.
We work to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS among young people because it is right to keep them from harm and enable them to protect others. We help children and families affected by HIV/AIDS to live their lives with dignity.
We involve everyone in creating protective environments for children. We are present to relieve suffering during emergencies, and wherever children are threatened, because no child should be exposed to violence, abuse or exploitation.
UNICEF upholds the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We work to assure equality for those who are discriminated against, girls and women in particular. We work for the Millennium Development Goals and for the progress promised in the United Nations Charter. We strive for peace and security. We work to hold everyone accountable to the promises made for children.
We are part of the Global Movement for Children – a broad coalition dedicated to improving the life of every child. Through this movement, and events such as the United Nations Special Session on Children, we encourage young people to speak out and participate in the decisions that affect their lives.
We are active in more than 190 countries and territories through country programmes and National Committees. We are UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund."
I very much look forward to reading the 12 Days of Austin's Christmas - and I know that Austin would be proud of all of the charity work which is done in his name and memory.