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NeverSeconds: Viral Blogging Meets Mini Advocacy

The Ad Council is all about spreading awareness of the most pressing issues. One of these issues we choose to highlight is childhood obesity. Since nearly 1 in 3 children in America are overweight or obese we agree that kids need healthier, balanced meals.

It’s our job to promote these issues, but sometimes small movements that use mini advocacy can have a huge impact. As 9 year old Martha proves, blogging can be used successfully to enact social change.

Yes, I said 9 year old. Martha started her blog, NeverSeconds, after she became dissatisfied with the meals provided at her school in Scotland.

“I wanted to write more and Dad suggested a blog and I chose school dinners because they weren’t always good and I came home hungry,” she told me in an interview (she answered my questions over breakfast as her Dad typed the answers).

PHOTO: Gammon steak and pineapple by Martha

She started snapping photos of her lunches, and invented her own 1-10 rating system for each meal based on factors like: Food-o-meter , Mouthfuls, Courses, Health Rating, Price, and Pieces of hair.

Since she began last month, NeverSeconds has received over 1.9 million page views and counting. She has been interviewed by the BBC and ABC. She even received help after Jamie Oliver, who has his own healthy eating campaign, tweeted about her to his 2.2 million followers.

Martha is capitalizing on the popularity of her blog and started raising money for Mary’s Meals, a charity that feeds children in Africa.

She says, “I am glad things are better for me but I know some children get no food. My friends set up a club to make things to sell for Mary’s Meals and we raised £70. A magazine gave me £50 for my photos and so I gave it to Mary’s Meals. Mary’s Meals provides school lunches for children around the world. Children go to school for the lunch but they get classes as well. I hope to raise £7000 to build a kitchen in a new school.”

Recently, her school decided to provide unlimited veggies and bread at lunchtime, so no more feeling hungry after eating lunch!

One of the interesting points about Martha’s story is why her generation of tech savvy kids turn to blogging and the internet.

“I enjoy writing and it’s a bit like keeping a diary but everyone can read it. I have to remember to be honest and fair. It’s very easy to do but Dad helps me as he knows the passwords and it’s tricky to organize the photos from the camera. I think I am learning about writing, about being safe online and organizing photos. I use a spell checker too!”

Finally I asked her, “Besides having 0 pieces of hair, what makes a good lunch?”

She responded, “I think a good lunch should look nice and make you want to eat it. It should be healthy, tasty and make you want seconds.”

Wise words to think about at any age.

PHOTO: Veggie spring rolls and rice by Martha

Marie Tae McDermott
Written by Marie Tae McDermott

Marie is a Content Producer on the Ad Council's Digital team. Her all time favorite bear is Smokey Bear. Find her on Google+ Twitter

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