Philanthropic Friday – Philanthropic Moms Honor Roll

Years ago, Jessica Shyba burst into my life like a beautiful ray of spring sunshine. When we first met, she was a young mother of two  – later she would glow her way through a third pregnancy with Beau, and oh the fun we had! Jessica and I cultivated an amazing friendship – one that literally weathered serious storms (that would be Sandy to be specific) and one in which we had each other’s backs in the most certain of ways.  Jessica won such a big place in my heart through her spirit and her radiance. Jessica has a remarkable eye – not just for what is visually powerful but for people as well. When she finds beauty she shares it. And this has been the case most recently.

Jessica’s photography has always been something I have admired. She documents her way through the world using her lens of compassion and pure love. She is able to capture moments that feel at once private and universal. This is a rare gift. Recently, Jess shared images of her baby (maybe not, Beau just turned two!!!) and puppy Theo sharing their naptime and bond. These images, now known as #TheoandBeau went viral. The images and Jessica herself have been featured in a wide array of national and international outlets. The best part of this burst of ackowledgement? Jessica has used it to flex her muscle as a Philanthropic Mom.

Through the much deserved attention around #TheoandBeau Jessica has directed donations back to the local SPCA where Theo was adopted. Thus far, she has been able to raise both much-needed funds and awareness for the The Santa Cruz SPCA which  is in desperate need of a new facility. Thanks to Jessica’s amazing images and effort, over $1,800 has been donated (to date).

Meet my beautiful friend and our latest Philanthropic Mom:

 Jessica Shyba

Mommas Gone City

What makes you a Philanthropic Mom?

I think becoming a mother brought philanthropy to the forefront of my mind. It’s impossible not to be empathetic or sympathetic to things once you become a parent, for me anyway. I feel like I’m sort of putting positivity back into the world in an effort to attempt to show my own gratitude for our blessings.

What is an early or stand-out memory of community service, philanthropic commitment or another way in which you felt strongly connected to an issue in the bigger world?

When I was in elementary school, we went to Sea World for the first time and I distinctly remember wondering why the whale’s dorsal fins were flopped over. Once I researched and found out the awful truth, I began my quest to become a marine biologist. That’s the first time I remember feeling like I wanted to make a difference in the world.

Who was your biggest philanthropic influence?

I would say, as cheesy as it sounds, that Angelina Jolie was an early influencer of mine. It struck me as remarkable what she had done with her celebrity status within her own family and as a philanthropist. Truly, though, my greatest influences are always my closest friends. I have some incredible people in my circle.

What about being a Philanthropic Mom makes you most proud?

I am most proud that my children are, even at their age, sensitive to those struggling in this world that we live in. When I went to Guatemala with World Vision, their questions, curiosity and caring about the children I was spending time with there made my heart nearly burst.

What is the legacy of change you want to leave behind?  

I would like to leave an impression of empathy, and hopefully instill a level of caring and compassion for everyone, as well as the knowledge that all acts of kindness are extraordinary and important.

What would your kids say about all of this?

Their feeling is that they are happy that I’m doing things to help others, but they don’t want me to leave again. Ever!

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