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Posts Tagged ‘power of one’

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Photo: Gabriela Bhaskar for the New York Times
A graduate of Rutgers University in Newark is teaching girls to ride bicycles as part of a program run by the organization she founded, Girls on Bikes.

I love reading how a small gesture or comment can lead to something big in a person’s life. It’s all about the Power of One. In this story, a bystander said something upbeat to Kala La Fortune Reed when she was biking to class, and it led to a movement.

Liz Leyden writes at the New York Times, “The training wheels were off. The young woman with a bright smile and golden sunglasses told Kaneisha Marable she didn’t need them. The little girl believed her.

“Kaneisha pedaled a wobbly path up the block beside Lincoln Park. House music thumped from the stage to her left, a festival underway, but the 8-year-old girl paid it no mind. Her eyes darted between the pavement ahead and Kala La Fortune Reed, the woman jogging by her side.

“The bike tipped. Kaneisha teetered. Finally, the wheels began to spin. Ms. La Fortune Reed let go, watching girl and bike move farther away.

“ ‘Yes, she’s got it,’ she exhaled. ‘You got it!’

“The victory came on a [Sunday in August] at a learn-to-ride clinic run by Girls on Bikes, a community group aiming to achieve pedal equality for a new generation of girls and women in Newark.

“The effort began in 2016 when Ms. La Fortune Reed rediscovered her old bicycle and started riding everywhere: to classes at Rutgers University in Newark, thrift shops and parks throughout the city.

“One day, a man called out to her. Keep it up, he said. There aren’t enough girls on bikes.

“Ms. La Fortune Reed scanned the streets and realized he was right. … She recruited Maseera Subhani and Jenn Made, friends from Rutgers who shared her love of cycling and for Newark itself; the idea of using bicycles to spread empowerment resonated with each of them.

“The trio juggled full-time classes and part-time jobs to get the group going. Ms. La Fortune Reed interned with a local bike mechanic and learned how to repair bikes and build them from scratch. Ms. Made created a curriculum for school workshops. Ms. Subhani found graphic designers to make fliers and T-shirts, and reached out to other community groups to collaborate. …

” ‘We wanted to create a sisterhood,’ Ms. La Fortune Reed said. ‘We go really slow. We have fun. We’re doing this to build relationships, to build a movement.’ …

“Ms. La Fortune Reed said Girls on Bikes tries especially hard to reach girls in middle school.

“ ‘We try to catch them at that age, to build up bicycling and the idea of empowerment and leadership, before peer pressure hits,’ she said.

“In June, the group taught a four-week workshop for sixth- through eighth-grade girls at Marion P. Thomas Charter School. …

“ ‘Before, there was a negative connotation for a lot of them — this idea that if you rode a bike it meant you couldn’t afford a car, that you weren’t cool,’ [the teacher] said. ‘But having that reimagined by these strong, stylish young women, the students really bought into it.’ …

“More than 80 children, including 45 girls, participated throughout [the August bike] weekend. Some didn’t need any help, just a nudge to put on helmets. Simply watching them enjoy the bicycles made Ms. La Fortune Reed happy.

“But the moments when she saw girls growing in their confidence — testing out no-hands, standing on their pedals, letting go of training wheels — meant something more. ‘We’re leaving a memory in their lives that they can accomplish anything,’ she said.

“When Kaneisha Marable realized that she was riding on her own, she looked back at Ms. La Fortune Reed, astonished. She rode and rode and then ran off, returning a few minutes later with her mother. She climbed back on the bicycle.

“ ‘Look, Mommy, look! Look what I learned to do!’ ”

More at the New York Times, here.

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Luna-and-Stella-antique-lockets

Samples of the antique lockets Suzanne sells at Luna & Stella. This week she is participating with 500 online businesses in an auction of products to help ACLU and RAICES. One woman organizes these auctions at _stillwerise.

Lindsay Meyer Harley, owner of the online baby shop known as Darling Clementine, felt anxiety about the state of the world and decided to do something. While still running her business, she began to organize likeminded online business owners to participate in auctions that fund worthy causes. The auction in which Suzanne and Luna & Stella are providing a $200 gift certificate features 500 online businesses eager to aid organizations working to unite separated families. It ends Monday.

The way it works: you bid at _stillwerise on Instagram by putting the amount in the comments under the photo of the product you want. When the winning bid is established after the deadline, you send the amount you bid directly to ACLU or RAICES or a combination of the two, and then you send the acknowledgment you receive to stillweriseauction @ gmail.com. At that point, Lindsay tells the business owner that s/he may send you the auction item you won. (Lindsay notes, “The receipt of donation will include your name, email and amount donated, no other personal information.”)

Genius?

You can read all about Lindsay and the auctions she has managed in the last year here at Glitter Guide, here at Little Kin Journal, and also at https://www.stillwerisecommunity.com.

If you are on Instagram, follow @_stillwerise. There are so many tempting items offered in the cause of reuniting families!

I look forward to your comments. As amazing as the auction items are and as worthy as the two causes are, the thing that really bowls me over is this: one woman decided to “do something.”

Oh, my. The Power of One!

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