On September 21, 2021, the Norse Against Sexual Assault (NASA) gathered for their first reunion of the 2021-22 school year. NASA President Gretchen Dwyer (’24) guided the 17 attendees through group board presentations, shared the group’s plans and goals for the year, addressed the exciting possibilities of guest speakers and discussed the structure of future meetings.
Dwyer, who has been chairman of the group since spring 2021, has plenty of new ideas for leading NASA into the new school year and providing resources and education to the Luther community.
“I am very happy that the members of NASA are learning more about the different elements of preventing sexual violence,” said Dwyer. “It’s not just about safer sex and consent. People need to know how to protect themselves, how to report cases of sexual violence, how to erase their preconceived notions of perpetrators and how to challenge stereotypes imposed on them.
Some of NASA’s plans for the new year include lecture-books on Linda Tchirhart Sanford and Ann Fetter “In Defense of Ourselves; A Rape Prevention Handbook for Women, ”which provides an introduction to those who want to learn more about preventing sexual assault. Dwyer plans to discuss new chapter content at each meeting, ranging from topics on physical self-defense, resistance to manipulation and verbal and physical abuse, how to help and serve survivors, how to encourage humane treatment of others. , as well as information on promoting consent and healthy sex.
Jack Kates (’24) was among those present at the first NASA meeting. He was drawn to the organization after meeting and befriending Dwyer at a protest, and because he is passionate about making Luther a safer place for survivors of sexual assault. .
“I look forward to seeing the awareness of sexual violence in this school continue to grow,” Kates said. “Luther deleted the ‘Luther Survivors’ page on Instagram, and because of that, many people here on campus are worried about whether and how their university will be there for them.”
Like most student organizations on campus, NASA has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of opportunities to meet during the 2020-21 school year. NASA Social Media Representative Emily Dyrdahl (’22) hopes to rejuvenate the organization in the new school year.
“My first years and second year [NASA] was really big, ”Dyrdahl said. “Once Covid arrived it hit a wall, and everyone who attended graduated and left. So we’re kind of restarting it and restarting it.
Some of NASA’s goals for Luther are to advocate for tougher and more regular penalties for offenders in academic institutions, a way to report offenders without going publicly through Title IX, and for a change of attitude when talks about sexual assault on campus. Going forward, Dwyer and Dyrdahl hope to expand the group’s reach on campus, as well as educate and empower students on issues of sexual violence.
“I want Luther’s students to be more educated on the subject and to feel like they can teach it themselves,” Dwyer said. “NASA’s goal is to instill confidence in survivors and support them throughout their healing and justice process.
NASA hosts meetings every second Tuesday night in person, as well as broadcast on Zoom. To learn more about NASA, watch Zoom Meetings, or join the news mailing list, go to the NASA Instagram page where applicable links can be found in the account bio.
The Hidden Opponent is the newest on-campus student organization focused on student athlete mental health. The sand spoke to Isabella Espino (’24), president of the organization and member of the women’s rowing team, to learn more about her mission and plans.
Q: What does “The Hidden Adversary” mean?
A: The hidden opponent is the mental block that athletes face and prevents them from becoming the best athlete they can be. It can range from anxiety about not having a good practice to something more extreme like the depression that athletes face due to the stress of their schedule and not having time to take care of. themselves.
The purpose of The Hidden Opponent is to raise awareness and say that it’s okay to have a day when you don’t feel your best in training and it’s okay for athletes not to be. the strongest they can be at all times.
Q: Can you tell us more about the history of this organization?
A: The Hidden Opponent was founded by USC Division I volleyball player Victoria Garrick, who is now a social media influencer and mental health advocate. She started the organization after her own journey as a student athlete, where she struggled with eating disorders and major depression. She started this to hopefully create an outlet where athletes can find resources on campus.
I’m part of the Campus Captains Program, a group of about 500 student-athletes across the country. It’s a huge support system from leaders trying to raise awareness. Because Rollins is a Division II school, I am part of the Division II cohort. We have different meetings with psychologists where we learn what we can do to help. Obviously we are not trained professionals, so we are not here to give advice, but we are here to provide the resources and help people the best that we can.
Q: How did the hidden adversary find their way to Rollins?
A: I am super passionate about mental health. In our team, our coach has always made it very clear that mental health is important. We can’t use it as an excuse not to go to training or something, but sometimes your schedule gets overwhelming. It’s okay to admit that, and it’s okay not to be your best in training, as long as you give it your all.
It is very important for me and my teammates. I noticed Victoria Garrick on social media and followed the organization last semester to see what she was doing.
I loved their mission and their message, so I took a picture and applied to be Campus Captain with my VP Bess Prim (’24). We both understood that and we are very happy that there is interest in the club. Hopefully, this becomes a place where people feel comfortable talking about things that maybe seem a bit stigmatized, and they become more of a conversation here on campus.
Q: Is there personal significance to this business for you?
A: I have been an athlete since I was six years old. I have always been involved in sports, I have always had so much energy, it was always fun. And then it got to a point where the coaches got a little bit harder, they expected more of you, and they started commenting on your body and it became a lot of pressure.
I felt like I was put in a box where I was an athlete and practice was the most important thing. If I was not doing well in school, I still had to persevere to be able to train because my coach and my teammates needed me there.
Then the final year of high school arrived and COVID-19 struck. It was a weight on my shoulders – that I didn’t have to train, that I didn’t have to compete. But then I realized it shouldn’t be like this. My coaches in high school were great, and it wasn’t their fault for that negative headspace. I wanted to be the best so badly that I started worrying about losing weight and going to the gym for an extra hour and all that.
Then I got to college and kept doing my best, but there is always someone who can be one step ahead of you. It was important for me to realize that I am here because my coach wants me to be here for a reason. I’m an asset to the team, and it changed my mindset to ‘I don’t need to be here, I can be here’. I work hard to earn my place and deserve to be here. I have learned to look at the practices in a different light and it is such a blessing.
Q: What is your goal for The Hidden Opponent?
A: Our student-athlete president Sam Fulton (’22) of the men’s lacrosse team said it best, “All I want is the athletes and other students at Rollins to take an hour. or two for themselves every week.
If anything, I want them to take this. You deserve the space to decompress and take care of yourself, whatever that may sound like to you. Fill your own cup, as you cannot give from an empty cup. Especially for athletes, who have such a crazy schedule, taking time for yourself and realizing that you are doing a great job is so important. If no one has told you that they are proud of you, say so for yourself. My main goal is for people to have the hidden opponent as a space where they don’t suffer on their own. I hope they see it through our community.
Q: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?
A: The Hidden Opponent is not just for student athletes. It is obviously for them, but it is really for all those who are passionate about sports culture. If you are not a student athlete, you can join us. We want people who are passionate about mental health. If you were an athlete in high school or at any point in your life, we want you to be there too. We want to hear your story if you are comfortable telling us your struggles. We want to be a space for you to feel safe and for this topic to become more of a conversation on campus.
A South Florida nonprofit has partnered with an organization in Texas to help Haitian migrants who have crossed the border reunite with their families here in the United States.
There is a group of Haitian migrants who were lucky enough to cross the Mexican border. Once they’re in the United States, nonprofits like Houston Haitians United host them in facilities to help them figure out what’s to come.
Lex Pierre, founder of the We Reach Foundation, has partnered with the Texas-based organization to help Haitian migrants reunite with their families across the Mexican border.
“They help them find their families, help their families buy tickets and, of course, give them food, water, a shower, and then bring them to the airport,” Pierre said.
Earlier this week, around 12,000 Haitian migrants were living under a bridge at the Mexican border.
Pierre says Haitian migrants from the facility have traveled long distances to get to this border.
“They all said the trip was in nine different countries. Walking, hitchhiking, greyhound buses, other mom and pop versions of the greyhound bus, and being under the bridge, and they tell me the conditions and the heat under the bridge at the border was torture and they are just happy to be here, “said Pierre.
But since Friday, there have been no Haitian migrants camped under the bridge, according to the Department of Internal Security.
Several non-profit organizations and churches have traveled to the border to help Haitian migrants. Many say they were devastated by the images of people and children living under a bridge and took action. NBC 6’s Kim Wynne reports
When Matt Miclette and nine other young men and women dined together in Center City on Veterans Day in 2016, they had more than military service in common. They were graduating, building careers, starting families, and feeling the need to do more.
From the conversations around the table that evening at Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse emerged an organization that taps into the talent, spirit and ambitions of a new generation of American veterans. It’s called Action Tank (actiontank.us) for a good reason.
“Our first service project was to clean up a park in South Philly,” said Miclette, 33, an army veteran, registered nurse and executive director of Action Tank. “It started with putting us on the ground and doing an act of service. “
Said Darrell Wisseman, 32, a Glenside resident who served in the Marine Corps and is a graduate student at Arcadia University: “Action Tank is the antithesis of a think tank because we are not seated in an ivory tower. We are in the streets to do good for the community.
The 20 young veterans from across the Philadelphia area who make up the Action Tank plant trees, harvest potatoes and distribute food. They volunteer with the Hub of Hope for Homeless People and with Prevention Point, the organization that seeks to minimize harm to people with substance use disorders. Action Tank is allied with two dozen frontline organizations across town, from Moms Demand Action to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
“Our role is to support nonprofits that are already doing a great job,” said Miclette, who lives at Point Breeze.
“We don’t come trying to be experts,” said Emily Balog, Air Force veteran, graduate student and assistant professor at Rutgers University Camden.
“We provide our partner organizations with high level planning and thinking, and field starts,” said Balog, 37, of Stratford, NJ. “No conditions.”
Members of the Action Tank give inspiration to the Tillman Foundation and its mission of selfless service. The foundation offers leadership development and scholarship programs for veterans and their spouses and honors the legacy of Pat Tillman, the professional football player who put his NFL career on hold and joined the United States military after the terrorist attacks of September 11.
Tillman died at age 27 after being shot down by friendly fire while serving in combat in Afghanistan in 2004. Miclette, Balog, founding member Chris Diaz and member Daris McInnis are all Tillman Fellows playing key roles in Action Tank.
“We were supposed to meet in Arizona for a Tillman Foundation national service project and a 9/11 souvenir, but it had to be canceled due to the [COVID-19] delta variant, ”Balog said. “Tillman is providing funds to local academics to carry out a project, and we really want to do something to support the Afghan refugees. So we’re looking to see how we can do it. “
Diaz, an army vet who hosted the founding dinner in 2016 (“there was such energy at this table”) was the first Executive Director of Action Tank. He said the group contrasts with an all too common public perception that veterans are either heroic or tragic.
“We just want to use our skills to build the community,” said Diaz, a 39-year-old Northwest Philly resident.
These skills include the same type of research, data analysis, political, administrative and managerial expertise involved in creating and maintaining the Action Tank itself.
“We decide what [issue] we want to focus on each year, learn more, create partnerships and share knowledge, ”said Miclette. “The first issue we focused on was the opioid crisis, but as we expand our portfolio we are not letting go. [existing commitments] behind.”
In addition to the opioid crisis, Action Tank is also working on food insecurity, gun violence, and restoration of the Philadelphia tree canopy.
“I was extremely impressed with the amount of research they did,” said Erica Smith Fichman, manager of community forestry for the city’s parks and recreation department. “I see their volunteers everywhere. It’s awesome.
Onika Washington-Johnson, who manages volunteers for the Philadelphia Share Food program, said she was struck by Action Tank’s “general sense of commitment” to the fight against hunger.
“They do a lot of work on our urban farm,” she said. “They bring a dynamic spirit. “
A 35-year-old city resident and military veteran, McInnis joined Action Tank in February. He liked what he heard about the group’s commitment to service – and wanted to work on community projects alongside other veterans.
“Action Tank is an opportunity to do something tangible,” said McInnis, who teaches literacy classes at West Chester University and is also pursuing a doctorate. in education at Penn.
“I am particularly drawn to Action Tank [way of] think about gun violence, and I’m a big supporter of having community organizations take the lead in tackling gun violence issues, ”he said.
A documentary by South Jersey filmmaker Tim Yingling titled Feed Philly focuses on Action Tank’s contribution to tackling food insecurity in the city. During the film’s first public screening on August 20 in the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House in the Old Town, the band members explained what it means to be able to continue their service.
Action Tank “is exactly what I was looking for,” said James Morris, 28, who served in the Marine Corps, lives in Old City and is a project manager at an investment firm.
“There are a lot of different veterans organizations out there, and a lot of them are focused on helping other veterans, which is a big mission,” he said. “In Action Tank, veterans can use the skills we learned in the military and apply them here at home.”
In a previous interview, Navy veteran Mark Torres said his first action tank activity – helping provide meals at the Hub of Hope – confirmed his decision to join us.
“We had a mission. We were in sync and got into a really good rhythm, ”said Torres, 36, who lives at Glenside and works as a project manager. “It was a simple mission, serve and clean, but we all fell into our roles. I realized that I had missed this sense of belonging and connection since leaving the military.
Miclette said, “Action Tank is focused on community and improving the city. But it also creates a sense of purpose and a sense of connection. It brings the veterans together.
OAK CITY, NC (WITN) – Oak City Fire Chief Butch Beach on Thursday examined a stack of sympathy cards from all over the United States while thinking of the three EMS personnel they lost at cause of COVID-19 in 2021, including former mayor William Stalls.
“When the mayor walked in he would slam the door so everyone would know he was coming if he was here,” Beach said. “It was very sad, we had a difficult year. “
Stalls died about a day before the department lost another of their own, Lt. Willie Bunch. Stalls and Bunch were both on a ventilator in the COVID intensive care unit at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.
The city’s losses follow hundreds of others nationwide whose deaths in the line of duty have been linked to COVID-19.
Firefighters Close Call was created by selected members of the fire service personnel to provide information, data and share experiences relating to the safety, health, well-being and survivability of the service community ‘fire.
But what the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has achieved is the growing number of public safety officers who have contracted COVID-19 while on duty and died from complications.
“What neither of us expected was to see this number of deaths from COVID,” said Ron Siarnicki. “181 firefighters have died since the start of the pandemic, 78 emergency medical providers, 525 police officers and 18 communication personnel from public safety response points. That makes a total of 802 people have died from complications from COVID. “
Siarnicki added that they saw a significant number of cases among firefighters in August and September 2021, equal only to December and January 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Close calls from firefighters will determine how many of the mentioned reported deaths have contracted COVID-19 while on duty.
In Maryland, they will pay tribute to 14 firefighters who were considered dead in the line of duty COVID in October.
“Number one, these people probably died helping someone else,” Beach said. “Number two, not only does it affect them, it affects their family and the fire department is also their family. EMS is their family.
The risk message can be clear to most people in the department without having to enforce a vaccination mandate.
Beach highlighted the difference between those who have died and those who have recovered from COVID-19 in the department.
“Two died and two recovered fairly quickly, and the two who recovered fairly quickly had been vaccinated.”
Yet more can be done to help protect public safety officers. Beach encouraged people to let EMS staff know if you feel sick or have symptoms of COVID-19.
“We really insist that people be very, very careful and let us know when they are sick or when they think they are sick. This helps us keep our firefighters and EMS safe. “
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