Red Nose Day and Childhood Poverty


Somehow I missed this one; this past Thursday, May 21 was the first Red Nose Day.

Red Nose Day is a campaign dedicated to raising money for children and young people living in poverty by simply having fun and making people laugh. The inaugural Red Nose Day will be held in the US on May 21st, 2015. People across the country will come together to have fun and raise funds and awareness.

While it is too late to participate in any of the events for this year’s Red Nose Day, it’s not too late to donate to the cause or to raise the level of awareness.

According to the  American Psychological Associationresearch has demonstrated that living in poverty has a wide range of negative effects on the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our nation’s children. Poverty impacts children within their various contexts at home, in school, and in their neighborhoods and communities.

  • Poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, inadequate child care, lack of access to health care, unsafe neighborhoods, and underresourced schools which adversely impact our nation’s children.
  • Poorer children and teens are also at greater risk for several negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, school dropout, abuse and neglect, behavioral and socioemotional problems, physical health problems, and developmental delays.
  • These effects are compounded by the barriers children and their families encounter when trying to access physical and mental health care.
  • Economists estimate that child poverty costs an estimated $500 billion a year to the U.S. economy; reduces productivity and economic output by 1.3 percent of GDP; raises crime and increases health expenditure.

I am thrilled that something like the Red Nose Campaign has been started to help address these issues. I just hope it is as successful as the Ice Bucket Challenge.

The Ice Bucket Challenge raised more than $200 million for ALS, which affects approximately 20,000 Americans per year (info from the ALS web site). That works out to $10,000 per person.

U.S. Census data reveals that from 2009 to 2010, the total number of children under age 18 living in poverty increased to 16.4 million from 15.5 million. Child poverty rose from 20.7 percent in 2009, to 22 percent in 2010, and this is the highest it has ever been since 1993. If the Red Nose Campaign has the same success as the Ice Bucket Challenge, that would result in $160 BILLION raised to help fight childhood poverty. Imagine the impact such money could have.

I’m looking forward to wearing my red nose next year, a leftover from my days when I used to dress up as a clown for birthday parties for friends and neighbors.

Never underestimate the power of a laugh or just a simple smile; it could help lift a child out of poverty.

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