By Josh Fillmore
Several years ago, a neighbor of mine was driving down the busy road in front of our house. On our street we have a real problem with speeders and for years my good neighbor had been doing everything he could to help slow down the traffic. On this particular day, he was driving when suddenly a car came speeding up behind him, basically attaching himself to my neighbor’s bumper. My neighbor is from New York and being the good New Yorker that he is, thought to himself, “If you’re gonna speed in my neighborhood I’ll show you how slow I can go!” and he slowed down to 10 miles per hour. He proceeded to drive at that speed all the way to where our street ends at a busy intersection, a distance close to ¾ mile. Upon arriving at the traffic light, the speeder pulled around my neighbor into the other lane that opened up. As he did so my neighbor rolled down his window to engage in pleasantries but was surprised to see that the driver of the car was his other neighbor. This man rolled down his window and said, “Hey, how’s it going? It’s good to see you! Anyway, the baby’s coming and I’m racing my wife to the hospital. See you later!” It was then that my neighbor noticed in the passenger seat this man’s very pregnant wife trying desperately to not have her baby in the car.
Whenever I recall this story it cracks me up. However, as I have thought about it more recently, it struck me how it applies to this current moment we’re living in. It often seems that we have lost the ability to empathize with one another, to see things from someone else’s perspective and walk in their shoes. Sometimes we do this despite good intentions. Both of my neighbors had good intentions behind their actions. One was driving slowly because he was concerned for the safety of the kids in our neighborhood. The other was speeding because he was trying to get his wife to the hospital. The problem was that neither of them knew the intentions of the other. We run into trouble when we assume to know someone else’s motives. This is unfair to both parties and often leads to suspicion, anger and worse. It is helpful to remember that most people are great, and we can find common ground with just about anybody if we work at it. How much better could our world be if we would remember the wise words that, “The greatest charity comes…when we simply give each other the benefit of the doubt.”
Josh Fillmore was born in Chicago but has called Provo home since he was 11 years old. He graduated from BYU with a degree in International relations which proved helpful when he formed his own international relation with his wife of 24 years, Roberta, who is from Brazil. They have 3 sons ranging in age from 22 to 9. Josh is the president of Medical Outreach Corp, a company that works with local health care providers to assist their patients who don’t have insurance find financial assistance. Josh loves Rocky, 80’s hair bands and the Utah Jazz.
By Mary James
I’ve often told my kids to “fake till you make it”, knowing there is a lot of benefit from pushing oneself to just get started at a goal, and that to at least make the attempt is better than doing nothing at all when trying to get ourselves out of our comfort zone. While it’s true that we all must start somewhere, and that just starting can motivate us to self improve, I find that often we as humans, will too often take the least challenging option, and sadly this is also in our shallow attempts at kindness.
Sincerity is not just a character trait, it is a skill we must fumble at and then practice and hopefully master. Sincere kindness is no exception. Some lessons we seldom remember but some are those we refer back to again and again. This is one.
I remember as a child testing mom to see if she really did have eyes in the back of her head as I had previously concluded. Mom loved me fiercely, and sometimes I didn’t understand how her attention to detail and dedication to my moral character was just another kind of motherly love). She was a master at seeing through how I had moved my peas around on my plate to look like I had eaten most of them. She amazed me how she knew a wet toothbrush did not mean brushed teeth. Or even how she could know if I was really sorry about being a wiggle worm in church or if I was just saying so to not feel her displeasure. She understood that sincerity was something you could hear, see, as well as feel and I didn’t yet. That is until my attempts at being kind to someone I cared about seemed just not enough. That is when I first remember practicing sincere empathy.
It was the summer of my upcoming sixth grade year and it was a life altering moment that would define the ending of being a child who never questioned life, it’s purpose, or friends or family beyond their word. Maybe it was because nothing significantly awful had happened to me before. I had been safely sheltered by my family from much of life to the point where I didn’t understand or really believe in horrible things happening- especially to good people or innocent children. But now, there I was at age eleven, taking a call about a classmate who had been thrown and then trampled by a horse and had not survived. I couldn’t believe it.
Lisa was a well behaved and funny girl. We used to walk together to flute and piano lessons, compete for chairs and spelling grades, and shared fun make believe games on the playground. She was clever, sweet and kind, and I never remember her saying anything negative about anyone. But I do remember being annoyed with her for being too silly at times. I remember thinking she needed to act more mature, and I had judged her for it. I remember feeling a fake, insincere like for her at least once or twice. I don’t know if she knew, and I still wonder to this day. But as a preteen kid, I felt so guilty. I had not experienced the death of a child or a friend before. I didn’t know how to feel or act. And I felt just awful.
The funeral was a blur. I didn’t feel like I should be there, because I had experienced these thoughts of Lisa and now I could never show her I didn’t really mean them. I felt I didn’t deserve to be called her friend. I could no longer tell her I liked her by inviting her to another play date, or laugh until our sides hurt. I had lost a good friend but I had also learned a rite of passage sort of lesson. I had learned that nothing good is permanent, and that we can lose what we know as our lives, even if we aren’t the ones who die.
Lisa’s mom, Liz was devastated, inconsolable even. I remember seeing her and imagining what that would feel like. She was obviously still in such pain and looked like she wanted to die herself. That is until she saw all of us, Lisa’s classmates at the reception. And then she lit up. She doted on us, dried our tears, talked to each of us about how her only daughter treasured our friendships. She gave us hugs and laughed with us and I thought of my mom and how much I loved her, and my family. I thought of how Liz had lost what I had and cherished, and wouldn’t have it again in this lifetime. I thought of how Lisa’s mom saw through our confusion and loss of innocence and loved us as she loved her child, showering us with concern and the same mothering she had for her daughter. It was there I felt an overwhelming love for Lisa and her mom. And I had to show it some way. Her act of selflessness and kindness sparked it in me as well. To put aside her pain to take a little of ours turned a moment of sadness into a very sweet joy I’ll never forget. I felt a warmth in my heart that made me want to take away her pain, and celebrate her beautiful little girl. So I played a song for Lisa by the oak tree she loved to climb, where her ashes were now scattered, and we all walked away feeling connected to her and her family in a very important way.
Sometimes it is especially frustrating to practice kindness in a world where we feel we have to in order to be socially acceptable. We sometimes are insincere about our feelings, conserving them for our own losses. But empathy, that emotion where we feel another’s emotions, the little things and the big, the joy and the devastating sorrow, is how we can cure the cold apathy that creates this fake, even insulting version of kindness. Choosing to feel nothing but to act as if we do is cheating- and like cheating at school, it cheats ourselves the most. We gain in gratitude and compassion, wisdom and perspective, not to mention friends and social support for ourselves when walking through another’s trials by their side. When we can give a sincere piece of ourselves to fill in the breaks in another’s heart, and ease the difficulties of life, we have practiced and in Liz’s case, modeled how we can not only help others but strengthen ourselves, and build hope for all our futures.
I saw Liz again just a few years ago and we talked of Lisa and how life was now. I told her some of what I’ve shared here and we had another hug and cry together. I still felt that same love for and from her. And I like to believe Lisa was there too.
by Mark Turco
Imagine a world where no one took offense at someone else’s words, tweets, or Facebook posts.
Don’t misunderstand, there would still be plenty of people saying plenty of foolish, insensitive things; it’s just that we would choose to not be offended by those comments.
As a Protestant Christian minister living in a predominantly LDS culture for the past 14 years, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with religiously offensive material from friends and neighbors (I’ve been asked on multiple occasions when I’m converting, and when I was single, how I ever expected to find a wife without converting). At times I’ve found myself almost relishing the idea of being offended. How dare people make assumptions about me? How dare people question the validity of my faith?
But then I think about the words of Jesus. Most people, regardless of religious background, are familiar with and approve of at least a few of his well-known statements: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Judge not lest ye be judged.” But how about this one from Matthew 11:6: “Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended…”. What are the blessings that come from living an offense-proof life?
First, it will probably improve your quality of life (and depending how often you check your social media feeds, might significantly reduce blood pressure, but I’m no doctor). It’s in the same category as that sage advice James gives in the first chapter of his epistle, also recorded in the New Testament: “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” So much of what offends us does so on a gut level and causes a knee-jerk reaction, giving us precious little time to take a deep breath and actually think before responding.
Second, and even more important, refusing to be easily offended allows us to lean into and better understand another person’s point of view. This is especially important in religious dialogue, where we not only have a lot of emotional capital invested in our beliefs, but we also usually have misunderstandings about others’. When we’re triggered by something offensive, that’s an opportunity to first and foremost listen and learn. Instead of immediately trying to defend our position, refusing to be easily offended allows us instead to better understand our neighbor’s position, which leads to more fruitful dialogue going forward.
Jesus may never have scrolled Facebook or Twitter, but he still had plenty of people around him by whom to be offended, from thick-headed disciples to envious religious leaders. Being offended, however, costs something: distance from the one causing offense, and I think Jesus loved people too much to bear that separation.
Mark Turco was born and raised in Florida and moved to Utah in 2007. He enjoys playing the
violin, juggling, and tap dancing, although he’s never tried all three at once :)
Mark teaches fourth grade at an elementary school in Salem, and is an assistant pastor at New
Community Church in Orem.
By Mary James
In education we teach teachers to follow the 5:1 ratio of five positives for each negative. We know eventually too many negatives affect a students heart and mind and they shut down, so even important corrections don’t have an impact.
It turns out we are all like this no matter our age. Sometimes it seems that all there is to say is negative because of what goes on in this world, but if you try you can find a positive. If you don’t have five yet hold back your one negative until you do. Your message will have much more meaning and people will listen to you more in the future.
Mary Allison James is a small town girl from Southern Arizona, but has resided in the Provo Area since 2001. She is married and has 5 grown children, and two grandchildren. An educator for 28 years, she is an assistant principal at Provo High School, but still finds time to help operate her family businesses of a small farm and cattle company, and an equestrian facility. Additionally, Mary loves to write, paint, and garden, but has diverted her energies to finishing her Doctorate of Educational Leadership at the University of Arizona. Mary's professional passion is in helping underprivileged children achieve, and hopes to someday publish her research on the topic.
By Jennifer Partridge
I have a confession to make . . . I don’t like the phrase “random acts of kindness”!
You’re probably scratching your head saying, “What?! Didn’t I just come to a blog all about kindness?”
Don’t get me wrong – I am passionate about kindness! It’s not the acts of kindness I have a problem with, it’s the word “random.” I understand what it’s supposed to mean in the phrase, but I worry that it leaves people with the impression that kindness just happens on its own. Just go about your day and at some point you’ll randomly do an act of kindness. Does that happen? Sure. But if we truly want to increase kindness in the world around us, let’s eliminate the idea of random.
Instead, let’s focus on INTENTIONAL acts of kindness! Connection, empathy, appreciating differences, & belonging happen when we deliberately make them a priority.
Recently I had a big event happening in my life. On the morning of the event, I received text messages from two different friends (who don’t know each other). They each simply mentioned they were thinking of me that day and hoped that everything went well. It was a small and simple act, but it meant a great deal to me and helped strengthen me that day! They remembered me and something important to me! What meant the most is that they took the time out of their own schedule to send me a text. They were thoughtful and intentional about making a connection! That’s what kindness is all about!
So how do we put this intentional kindness into action? I’m sure there are as many ways as there are people. That’s what makes it great -- you have unique talents and perspectives that can bless someone else in a way someone else cannot. That’s also what makes it hard -- there is no formula, and it’s up to you to make it happen!
Something that works for me is to start my day by asking, “Who needs me today? Or what can I do today to make a difference for someone else?” As you think about that while getting ready for your day, an idea will come to your mind. Then set a plan on how you will do it!
It’s easy to stay in our little bubble . . . going about the routine of life with work, school, and family. As important as it is to be kind to those we see in our normal schedule, there are more people that need us. Be intentional in expanding your bubble. Look for those who are just outside of it. So many people are craving connection and need to be seen. Your intentional acts of kindness will lift them, and in the process you will strengthen friendships and create new ones!
How will you fill the world with intentional acts of kindness?!
Jennifer Partridge is a wife and mom to four children, ages 11-19. She currently serves on the Provo School District Board of Education and is also passionate about kindness, connection, and building community. Jennifer loves chocolate, Disneyland, date nights at all of the amazing Provo restaurants, working out, and traveling.
By Amy Koide
Reading is important to development in early childhood. It can help in developing cognition, empathy, knowledge, relationships, vocabulary, concentration, literacy skills, imagination, and creativity. It can also improve social skills and interactions. Reading can teach you more about art, science, technology, history, and culture. It can make the foreign more familiar by introducing us to people and places we wouldn't normally interact with.
Books are a way to connect with things that may be foreign to us. This is an excellent way to educate children and show them both the differences and similarities they might have with other children in far away lands or who live under different circumstances.
If you have a desire to introduce your kids to other traditions, ideas, and points of view, reading books is a great way to help them broaden their horizons. Scour your local library for books on agreed upon topics and have fun with it. When we've done this, my kids and I learn right alongside each other and they have more fun knowing that Mom is learning too. Sometimes we make a game out of it, trying to find facts that the other didn’t know, write them down, and keep score. Usually, I let them win, which makes it even more fun for them. It might be difficult to know where to begin, so here are some ideas that can make it easier to integrate into your routine and make things relevant to them.
Learning shouldn’t only happen at school. Learning can and does take place in the home whether you realize it or not. What you see around you shapes you. If you only see people who are like you, your life experiences will be limited. Reading about other people, places, and ideas will broaden your child’s horizons and also make the world feel a bit smaller and more familiar. Diversifying reading material at a young age can help to combat harmful stereotypes and stigmas associated with people of different backgrounds, making for a more tolerant, loving world.
Amy Koide grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and moved to Provo with her family four years ago. She has a background in Early Childhood Education as well as Special Education. Reading has always been a big part of her upbringing, especially because her mother, grandmother, and grandfather were all teachers. She is an avid reader who shares that love with her neighbors and family.
by Jennifer Lambert
I’ve been seeing or hearing the phrase, “Hurt people hurt people” in several places over the past few months and it’s made me pause to think about how that really is true. It’s not uncommon to see people lash out at others when they’ve been hurt by someone or something, and we’ve probably all done it at one point in our lives. But what if we’re the ones who are hurting ourselves? How can we show kindness to others when we aren’t showing kindness to ourselves?
A lot of research has shown that practicing self-kindness has many benefits and rewards, like emotional intelligence, wisdom, happiness and feeling interconnected with others. Those who are kind to themselves also experience less depression and anxiety, perfectionism and fear of failure. It’s easy to see how kindness to oneself leads to kindness to others. Let’s take a look at 10 strategies for increasing self-kindness.
Remember that you deserve the goodwill you offer to others. As the Buddhist saying goes, “You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Be kind to yourself.
Jennifer Lambert is a writer, a PTO president, a mom and a wife. She’s never met a cheese she didn’t like and doesn’t let a little lactose intolerance get in the way of achieving her dreams. Although not a native of Provo she considers it her home now, having been welcomed with open arms and ranch dressing from the BYU Creamery.
by Dave Sewell
Where does kindness start? For many of us, our first introduction came from our parents. From my earliest memories, throughout my whole life and up to the present day, my angel mother’s kindness, love and encouragement have comforted me, buoyed me and provided wind for my sails. She also modeled how to treat other people kindly by showing genuine concern for those she interacted with.
My father was a good example of how to treat people fairly, with dignity and respect, regardless of race, economic status or culture. He taught me an enduring lesson when I was a young boy just after we had moved to a larger house. I came home one day telling him I wasn’t sure I wanted to still play with Jerry, a friend who lived in the neighborhood we had moved from. When he asked why, I made some comment comparing Jerry’s house to our new one. My father expressed disappointment in me for judging Jerry on that basis. The rebuke set my young heart on a better course – and I played with Jerry.
We can all remember people in our lives whose examples of kindness, fairness and civility have shaped our lives for good – family, friends, teachers, religious and civic leaders, mentors, associates, and sometimes strangers. Remembering those people and their positive impact on our lives can motivate and inspire us to want to “pay it forward” by being kind to others in similar fashion. Showing kindness to others is a win/win because usually both the giver and the receiver benefit from it.
Some people get off to a rough start in life lacking strong headwinds of love, kindness and encouragement. The negative effects of such deficits can be devastating, but many have risen above such challenges to give more than they got – becoming givers of the kindness they wished they had received earlier in life. My wife and I recently watched a movie titled “Noble” about one such individual. Christina Noble was sent to live in an orphanage at the age of 10. After escaping as a teenager, she suffered from gang violence while living on the street and later from domestic abuse. However, she overcame all of that to eventually form a foundation that cared for over 700,000 children in Vietnam and later in Mongolia. She spearheaded an inspiring program to provide the love and kindness to orphaned children that she wished she had experienced in her youth.
Religion can be a powerful motivator encouraging us to be kind and respectful. Most world religions have some version of the Golden Rule among their tenets – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These words from a children’s song well known in this area seem relevant here: “Love one another as Jesus loves you. Try to show kindness in all that you do.” Many leaders of other world religions have taught similar principles of empathy and compassion – including the Buddha, Mahatma Ghandi, and the Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Scientific studies have validated good reasons, unrelated to religion, for promoting and teaching kindness – especially where our youth are concerned. I found this article titled “Why Teaching Kindness in Schools Is Essential to Reduce Bullying” to be fascinating. I loved this quote within the article from Rutgers University psychology professor Maurice Elias: “Kindness can be taught, and it is a defining aspect of civilized human life. It belongs in every home, school, neighborhood and society.” I am very glad that our School Board is proactively teaching kindness in our schools and that Provo City has gotten involved in promoting kindness generally and helping with Kindness Week specifically.
I worry about civility in the public square. Kindness in the political sphere should include a willingness to listen, to seek to understand and to look for common ground. We can defend positions passionately and learn to disagree respectfully. We should not impute motives or malign intentions that we may not perfectly understand. Better solutions can result when opinions and positions are carefully considered in an atmosphere of mutual respect. I recently read an excellent book proposing that we will get better outcomes when we learn to disagree better, not less. The book is titled “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from Our Culture of Contempt”, by Arthur C. Brooks. My colleagues on the Provo City Council have been good examples of how to do this right. We can freely debate and disagree without being disagreeable, and that has been one of the joys of my recent Council service.
Our community in Provo has historically done well in showing kindness. You are more likely to find a smile, kind words and a helping hand here than in most other places. It is one of those intangibles that makes people want to live here and/or raise a family here.
Where does kindness start? With you and with me – as individuals. I hope that we maintain it and strengthen it as a community value through our individual choices. As we each endeavor to spread kindness, our families, our neighborhoods and our entire community will be blessed and enriched.
Dave and his wife Susan have lived in Provo for over 35 years and have raised their six children here. Dave holds a master's degree in computer science and an MBA from BYU. He is an entrepreneur who has started several tech businesses. Dave has served on the City Council since 2014 as the City-Wide I representative and is currently serving as the Council Chair.
By Cortney Huber
Every time I’ve moved to Provo it felt like moving home—whether coming here for the first time as a reluctant 3rd grader, or a lifetime later, with my husband and four kids, returning after an extended educational and training period. With all of the family, friends, and memories built in, Provo felt safe, welcoming, and natural-- we belonged.
We have thrived over many years in the community we’ve enjoyed here. Recently, we challenged it. After a long, thoughtful, and painful struggle, my husband and I, along with our kids, decided to leave the church that had been the heart of our community and network. But we stayed in Provo, in our neighborhood, in our family. We wanted to preserve relationships with neighbors and ward members. Our church decision isolated us and complicated all of our relationships. We tried to be very open and authentic about our decision, so instead of just quietly disappearing, we reached out with a letter to family, friends and many neighbors, explaining our choice. The responses we received varied. Reaction to this kind of news is a complicated and individual calculation.
The best replies made us feel valued and included. They expressed empathy about our painful journey, offered love, and reaffirmed their intention of continuing our relationship. One friend asked for feedback about some issues she was thinking through, showing she still valued and trusted my opinions and judgment. Another said, “I never felt more connected to you than I did when I read your letter explaining your church decision,” not because she could relate to my struggle but because she appreciated the openness and vulnerability. Another said, “I got your letter. I’m sorry for your pain. Let’s go for a walk and you can tell me more.” Some family members said, “We read your letter. We love you. Can we come talk so we can better understand your choice?” Even expressions of sadness offered us a chance to connect with people and deepen our relationship, as long as they could accept and respect our decision.
People who responded in the ways that were most meaningful to us had found it possible to remove fear from their reaction, and by doing this, they communicated to us that we weren’t a threat to them, that they still wanted us close. Author and social scholar Brene Brown said, “We are connected to each other in a profound way and the thing that moves us away from that faster than anything else...is fear.” Instead of coming to us with fear, these people offered us something much more productive:
Belonging is an important human need—not merely a want or desire—to feel accepted and claimed. The lack of it brings detrimental consequences to health and well-being. Child welfare advocate Amelia Franck Meyer highlighted this in a 2016 TEDx Talk: “When we can’t connect, we don’t belong. And when we don’t belong, we have no protection of our tribe and our brain acts as though our survival is at risk, because it is.” There are innumerable social and individual benefits that come from belonging in a strong community-- from a greater ability to contribute, having an increased sense of purpose and resilience, higher personal achievement, to lower violence and crime, and improved educational outcomes. The benefits are significant and varied.
We strengthen our community when we remove fear from our interactions and genuinely connect with each other with respect and acceptance—when we help build belonging. I’m sure many of our friends and family had trouble finding the “right things” to say to us. But we always appreciated a sincere effort to show acceptance and love— removing fear to expand the parameters of belonging.
Cortney Huber and her husband, Brad, have four kids and are longtime Provo residents. Their shared love of travel and adventure has recently taken them to New Zealand, where they will be living for the next year.
Now, consider moving, but make it during a pandemic.
Last summer, my family moved to Provo, to a new-to-us home and neighborhood, and we love being here. It seems strange to even be saying this because we’ve lived here for seven-and-a-half months, but: we look forward to meeting our neighbors. Rather, we look forward to getting to know them, to putting more faces with names.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “desperate times call for desperate measures,” and while some may describe the last year or so as being desperate, I’d call it extraordinary. Met with the challenges presented, most everyone I know has stepped up, including stepping out of their comfort zones, to meet the challenges of the unknown. As for me and my house, we’ve been the recipients of such efforts as these extraordinary times have yielded extraordinary measures of kindness and generosity.
Individuals, couples, and families (all masked and safely distanced) have knocked on our door to welcome us to the neighborhood. We’ve been the recipients of plates of cookies, loaves of bread, flowers. One woman stopped by with a basket of fresh vegetables harvested from her own garden that morning. A family on our block favored us by delivering not only delicious homemade soup, but also Welcome signs made by their children, which signs I see every morning on my refrigerator. Complete strangers have made an effort to cross the street to say hello and give an introduction.
Last Thanksgiving one of my life’s dearest friends passed away, and just three days later, a woman who I had long admired but (at that point) known only casually drove an hour to deliver flowers and homemade matzo ball soup, which, as she taught me, “has a long history of feeding those who are hurting, who feel defeated, who are reeling from pain and loss.” The meaning behind that -- the time, the effort, the love involved -- helped to heal my heart.
In January my husband and I felt utterly defeated when we tested positive for COVID-19. Yet, as more people learned of our situation we were again shown extraordinary measures of genuine kindness in the form of loving messages, and deliveries and drop-offs of helpful supplies. These words and acts provided sunshine and respite during a grim season for us. The effects of those actions have been memorable, lasting, and a source of inspiration for us to be better at looking for ways we can help others.
I’m confident that anyone reading this could come up with similar anecdotes from their own lives regarding their experiences and interactions during the pandemic. Perhaps taking some time to write them down would be a good idea, maybe especially taking note of what could easily be seen as, “small things,” which we all know typically lead to extraordinarily bigger impacts than could be imagined.
As life increasingly becomes more social, we’ll all have a chance to interact in ways we’ve longed for over the past year or so. This presents us with opportunities to be more inclusive, more welcoming, more interested and invested in each other. When my family and I moved last summer, we didn’t get a chance to say the goodbyes we wanted to, in the way we wanted to, and the same applies to being able to meet our neighbors when we arrived in our new home. Still, like everyone else facing the challenges of the last year, we’re doing our best, and we’re grateful for others who have been creative, kind, patient, and shown genuine concern for the new family on the corner -- what are their names again?
Jenny Dye loves writing, but not writing her own bios. She is a Zumba fitness instructor, actor, and podcaster. Jenny has been a blogger since 2005, which has led to many professional opportunities, including working with The United Nations Foundation, and as a National Advocate and speaker for Shot@Life, which works to get life-saving vaccines to children around the world. Jenny and her husband John just celebrated 4 years of marriage, and together they have 11 kids, ages 27 to 12.