Week 38: Altruistic Stories from the BSU Peace Center

February 12, 2021

For the 38th consecutive week, the Center for Peace & Conflict Studies has compiled a list of acts of kindness and peace. The initiative began as a response to COVID-19 and the racism pandemic but has broadened to include any act of compassion or service to others. Please share these stories. If you have stories of positive acts people/organizations are taking and you would like to share them, please email them to Brandon Miller at peacecenter@bsu.edu. All the stories starting from week 1 are available online. Additionally, you can follow the Peace Center on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) at bsu4peace.

Nike Responds to a Letter from a Boy with Cerebral Palsy by Designing an Athletic Shoe without Shoelaces

In 2012, then 16 year old Matthew Walzer wrote a letter to Nike explaining that, despite his Cerebral Palsy, he is completely independent in the process of getting dressed except for one thing: tying his shoes. Walzer wrote in the letter that an athletic shoe without laces would enable him full independence. The letter also stated that Walzer was not the only person for whom shoelaces pose an obstacle and that, because most adaptable shoes are not athletic shoes, athletes with similar physical limitations cannot benefit from the features of athletic shoes. Paralympic Nike shoe designer, Tobie Hatfield, received Matthew’s letter and began the process of creating a hands free shoe that would not only benefit people who experience difficulties with tying shoes but also those who are on the go and don’t want to be slowed down by shoelaces. The Nike Go FlyEase will officially hop on the market on February 15, 2021 at a price comparable to the brand’s other offerings. Moving towards a more adaptive world for everyone means listening to their concerns and helping create new innovations to ensure equity in society.

Source: Happy Mag - https://happymag.tv/nike-release-no-lace-hands-free-shoe/

Source: Hindustan Times - https://www.hindustantimes.com/trending/this-16-year-old-with-cerebral-palsy-is-the-inspiration-behind-nike-s-flyease-101612278503760.html

Chicago Restaurant Owner Buys Tamales from Local Vendors and Distributes Them to Homeless People

Robert Magiet of Chicago was driving through the city recently when he saw a street vendor selling tamales. Anyone who has walked the streets of Chicago during the winter knows its moniker “The Windy City” is well-earned. Wind off Lake Michigan is frigid and nearly constant, and the temperature on the day of Magiet’s encounter with the tamale vendor was barely breaking into double digits. “She looked like she had five layers of clothing on,” Magiet said. “I said, ‘Can I buy all your tamales and you can go home?’” He estimates that the vendor still had nearly 10 dozen with her. Then he tipped her and took the tamales to nearby homeless encampments where he distributed them. Magiet owns a café in the Ukrainian Village of Chicago, and he knows firsthand how the pandemic has devastated the restaurant industry. So he decided to build on his kind gesture. He took to social media where he solicited recommendations for other tamale vendors, and over the next several days, he followed the many leads that came rolling in. He began leaving home at 5:30am and travelling to vendors in other neighborhoods, after which he delivered them to homeless people in the area. And with each vendor he bought out, he made sure to leave a generous tip.

Source: The Chicago Tribune - https://www.chicagotribune.com/columns/heidi-stevens/ct-heidi-stevens-takorea-cocina-owner-buys-tamales-feeds-homeless-0128-20210129-kn4z5o4llbaolhieukzzfifv24-story.html

Hundreds of Americorps Volunteers are Being Dispatched Across the Country to Aid Communities in Need

Hundreds of young adults across the U.S. are being deployed to serve communities in need. Within the last couple weeks, a division of AmeriCorps sent 24 teams to aid in COVID-19 relief, assist with wildfire management, and battle food insecurity. Each team serves for 10 weeks, and the youth have already been training since October for their assignments. In that training they get instruction in COVID-19 safety, leadership development, communication, teamwork, and other specialized skills required for their placements. Each team has its own priorities. Two teams are helping build affordable housing in Sacramento through Habitat for Humanity. Two other teams have been deployed elsewhere in California and Oregon to assist with wildfire prevention. “It was so rewarding to talk to homeowners and know that because of the work I was doing, they are going to be safer and more protected from wildfires. I know that this is an experience I will take with me for the rest of my life,” said one volunteer. The program these youth are participating in is a 10-month residential program funded by the U.S. government. In total, the volunteers will complete 3-5 service projects and invest 1700 hours for which they will receive over $6000 in compensation to pay for college or pay back existing student loans. Anyone age 18 – 26 is eligible to apply for the program.

Source: Good News Network - https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/american-youth-answer-call-to-serve-with-americorps/

Note. The Ball State University Center for Peace & Conflict Studies will host the Benjamin V. Cohen Peace Conference: Building a Beloved Community. This virtual conference will be held on April 9 and 10!

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