Caroline Boudreaux, pictured here with an orphan, founded the Miracle Foundation to help ensure children like him reach their full potential. The nonprofit recently launched its annual Mother s Day campaign to provide for motherless children in places like India, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Ethiopia. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Here’s one good way to honor your mom this Mother’s Day

Sometime on April 11, Audrey Brees will log onto her computer and make a $60 donation, maybe more, to the Miracle Foundation in honor of her mother.

It will be an early Mother’s Day gift, the same one she has given for at least the past three years.

That might not seem like much, but for the millions of children without mothers across the globe, who languish in substandard institutions, it means the world.

Brees’ donation not only honors her mother, it helps ensure orphans get the basics — clean water, food, health care and quality education — they need to reach their full potential.

Instead of the usual flowers and trinkets, Audrey Brees of Atlanta makes annual donations to the Miracle Foundation in honor of her mother, Amy Brees, a resident of Austin, Texas. The Miracle Foundation, a nonprofit that helps orphans around the world, launched its annual fundraising Mother’s Day campaign April 11. CONTRIBUTED
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Mother’s Day doesn’t normally conjure up visions of orphans, but there are an estimated 132 million children in the world for whom no mother (or father) can be found.

Think about that.

When Brees considered her life without her mom, she was horrified. When she considered the orphans, she knew giving to the nonprofit Miracle Foundation was the perfect way to gift both.

“It’s become a yearly routine because it makes my mom smile,” Brees said.

The Miracle Foundation, based in Austin, Texas, coincidentally was founded on Mother’s Day 2000, soon after Caroline Boudreaux stumbled upon an orphanage during a trip around the world.

“I was horrified by what I saw,” Boudreaux said. “It was like a prison for children. It wasn’t because the people running it were bad. They just didn’t have the resources to properly care for the kids.”

Boudreaux said the children were desperate for attention and climbed all over her and her traveling companion. After rocking one little girl to sleep, Boudreaux walked into a room with 30 splintered picnic tables that doubled as beds.

“Hearing her bones hit the wood stopped me dead in my tracks,” Boudreaux said. “I’ve never been the same since and knew I had to do something to help orphaned children.”

That was 17 years ago, in rural India. Today Boudreaux, a former advertising executive, empowers people to create miracles for orphans all over the world.

For orphans with nowhere else to go, the Miracle Foundation works to ensure that children living in orphanages receive all their rights — food, water, health care, education … and plenty of love.

In addition to India, the Miracle Foundation supports 25 orphanages in the developing world and is partnering with organizations in Egypt, Uganda, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia and more to redefine the role of orphanages.

The goal is to find a loving home for every child — through empowering locals to either help get them into a loving family or ensuring high-quality care when the child has nowhere else to go. In the interim, Boudreaux hopes to inspire others to help care for the children.

And so come April 11, the Miracle Foundation will launch its Mother’s Day Campaign on every social media platformavailable from email to Google to Facebook Live.

“It’s a great way to honor your mom and to take care of someone who doesn’t have one,” she said.

Supporters at all donation levels will receive a beautiful certificate from the Miracle Foundation that they can share with their mom or special woman in their life. In partnership with Amazon Kindle, donors at the $60-plus level will receive Tina Fey’s “Bossy Pants” on their Kindle. And donors who give $125 or more will receive gourmet chocolates from Maggie Louise Confections.

I suppose you could argue that this is one more example of how Mother’s Day has become commercialized, but try getting through life without someone willing to put you first like mothers are known to do. Trust me, it ain’t pretty. That isn’t something someone told me. I’ve lived it for the past 44 years of my life.

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Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Brees, a 27-year-old social media manager at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, decided to donate after witnessing the impact the Miracle Foundation was having on the lives of both of her parents, particularly her mother, Amy Brees of Austin.

“I found her passion and love for the children very inspiring, plus the thought of not having her in my life or any mother like these orphans made me want to give,” Audrey Brees said.

On a deeper level, Brees said the Mother’s Day campaign adds meaning to the annual celebration that was missing previously and spurs conversations between her and her mother about genuine gratitude.

“It’s always been a chance to tell my mom, ‘Thank you,’ but now I get to say, ‘Thank you, on behalf of these children, too,’” she said.

Amy Brees first decided to sponsor a child through the Miracle Foundation in 2006. When she made her first trip to India with Boudreaux, her commitment deepened.

To have Audrey honor her this way makes the day all the more special.

“I don’t need another gift,” Amy Brees said. “These kids don’t have anything. I have all I need and then some.”

If you’re still looking for a way to honor your mother next month, this may be it.

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