As if being a super-cool rock star and dad weren't enough, add "activist" to Pete Wentz's list of accomplishments.
He's the official celebrity ambassador for UNICEF's Tap Project, which helps fund water and sanitation programs around the world.
We sat down with Pete in the midst of World Water Week to pick his brain about fatherhood, saving the planet and everything in between.
momlogic: What inspired you to become an advocate for clean drinking water around the world?
Pete Wentz: Access to clean water is a basic human right, and yet nearly 900 million people worldwide don't have it -- half of which are children. The Tap Project is an easy way for people to make a real difference in the lives of others by helping UNICEF provide them with the clean, safe water they need to survive and thrive. Every child should have the chance to grow up happy and healthy. Lack of clean water is a real crisis: One child dies every 20 seconds from water-related diseases. I believe that number should be zero, and I will keep advocating and supporting causes -- like UNICEF's Tap Project -- which work to make zero a reality.
ml: As a dad, why is the Tap Project so important to you?
PW: I've always been interested in humanitarian issues and helping kids around the world. But issues like these moved to the forefront since I had a child. Now more than ever, I feel a responsibility to help others, to set a good example for my child, to make this world a better place.
Every parent wants the best for their children. I'm lucky that I can provide my child with everything he needs to grow up strong, but I know that's not the case for everyone. I can't imagine what it would be like to live in a place where I was forced to give my child dirty water because it's the only thing I have. I want to do my part to make sure all parents can give their kids the best start in life.
ml: How has being a father changed your perspective and world-view? Are you more motivated now to try to make a change in the world?
PW: Being a father has definitely changed my perspective on the world. I'm more aware and conscious of the issues that affect children, not just here at home but also abroad -- in the developing world. If I see or read about the suffering of children anywhere, it is difficult for me not to think about my own child and how fortunate we are. But it also gets me to get involved to do what I can to effect change. This sort of activism is important to me because I also want it to serve as an example for my child.
ml: Tell us more about how the Tap Project works.
PW: The Tap Project is a grassroots initiative that raises awareness about the world water crisis and raises funds to help UNICEF provide children around the world with clean, safe drinking water. It's really easy to get involved -- you can dine out at a participating restaurant during World Water Week (March 21 - 27) and donate $1 or more for the tap water you usually drink for free. Go to tapproject.org to learn more or to make a donation. Or, text "TAP" to "UNICEF" (864233) to make a $5 donation.
The money raised by the Tap Project this year will go toward providing clean water to children in Haiti, the Central African Republic, Guatemala and other countries where the need is the greatest.
ml: What can parents do now to effect change in the world?
PW: As a parent, you have a great opportunity to raise your kids to be socially conscious and teach them about the world in which they live. The great thing about UNICEF and the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is that there are a number of different volunteer and education initiatives that range in age -- from the classic Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF to TeachUNICEF and the UNICEF Tap Project, just to name a few.
With all the resources, tools and opportunities available to become educated, active and volunteer, parents can cultivate that sense of responsibility that we all want our children to feel and remain with them as they get older and become adults.
ml: We're not celebrities. How can we bring attention to this crisis, and what can we do to help?
PW: You don't have to be a celebrity to make a difference. You can make a huge difference right now by supporting the Tap Project and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.
Go to TapProject.org to learn more about the world water crisis and how you can help.