Article: Louis Tomlinson donates signed Doncaster Rovers’ shirt to Team Verrico’s auction

Article: Louis Tomlinson donates signed Doncaster Rovers’ shirt to Team Verrico’s auction

June 24th, 2018: Louis Tomlinson donated an autographed Doncaster Rovers’ shirt to be auctioned off at the annual Team Verrico’s ball. The ball took place on June 16th at The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe and this year’s theme was the carnival. The ball included a three courses meal, entertainment, a raffle, and the auction Louis’ autographed shirt was part of.

Team Verrico is a charity which was founded in memory of Anna Verrico. Anna died of Triple Negative Breast Cancer in 2013 at the age of 36. Anna was a young mother who had always been passionate about volunteering for the community. When she was in her 20s Anna volunteered full-time for a charity that supported individuals suffering from depression and sadness. Anna was also passionate about fundraising for various charities. One time she climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge to support a school for the deaf in Doncaster and another time she abseiled down a skyscraper of Bridgewater Place in Leeds to raise money for the MacMillan cancer charity. Anna was very athletic and lived a healthy lifestyle, which made the cancer diagnosis after the birth of her second child in 2012 even more shocking for her family.

After the cancer diagnosis, Anna underwent surgery and chemotherapy. While in remission in the summer of 2013, she signed up for a half marathon and enlisted the help of dozens of friends to raise funds for cancer research. Unfortunately, she was not in good enough shape to run a half marathon. Refusing to use a buggy or a mobility scooter, she was able to convince the organizers of the half marathon to activate a “fun run” which she completed without help, fulfilling the requirement for fundraising. Unfortunately, Anna passed away the following November.

Anna’s family and friends continued her legacy by founding the charity that took on the name of the running team that participated in the 2013 half marathon, “Team Verrico”. The charity states on their page “We are Team Verrico, we bring hope where there is none.” The charity offers three types of support for people who are diagnosed with cancer and in particular Triple Negative Breast Cancer:

  • They help connect patients with top surgeons and oncologists, to investigate the best treatment options. The charity has a particularly strong connection with Harley Street clinics.
  • They provide free psychological support to patients and their families.
  • They provide practical help and support with everyday tasks, including transportation to doctor’s appointments and cleaning. The charity pays particular attention to the needs of families with children under the age of 18.

Team Verrico also supports scientific research and education on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. There are currently two projects supported by the charity: one of the projects is the research thesis of a Ph.D. student at the University of Sheffield and the other is a project run by Professor Stebbing at Imperial College London, who works on Triple Negative Breast Cancer.

The auction at the Team Verrico’s ball was set to raise thousands of pounds for the much-needed work the charity does for cancer patients. The charity is also supported by donations directly to their page. Visit their page at this link if you want to help support Team Verrico’s work.

Pictures credit: Team Verrico’s website.

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Article: Harry Styles supports Soul of WoMen event for Peace Conference

Article: Harry Styles supports Soul of WoMen event for Peace Conference

June 14th, 2018: During his current World Tour, singer and songwriter Harry Styles has chosen to support various local charities by donating the proceeds from the sale of some of the tickets to his shows and his merchandise. While in Scotland at Glasgow recently, he chose to give support to a special conference named The Soul of Women which is an event preceding the World Peace Festival. The World Peace Festival is held at the World Peace Prayer Society Sanctuary in Dumfries and Galloway. Dumfries is home to Clare Uchima, the keyboard player and vocalist of Harry’s band on tour. Clare’s parents are both very involved, with her mum being the director of Allanton World Peace Sanctuary  and her father being the chef and the person who hand-crafts their world peace poles.

According to BBC a spokesperson for the event, Glenda Thornton, stated they “were very thankful” for Harry Styles’s support and the funding was being used for the conference which is “everybody and anybody” to attend; she further explained “it is to explore how we can create a more balanced world”.

 

This June 23rd will be the second Soul of WoMen event held, with its focus on balancing the masculine and feminine qualities in ourselves, communities, and the world. Throughout the day the participants will be focusing on how to inspire and empower a more gender-balanced world.

According to their World Peace Festival website, there will be key guest speakers, round-table discussions, and workshops seeking to to answer the question: How can we create a more balanced world locally and globally, wherein qualities within us all are working in harmony?

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This conference is not the only work done with the The World Peace Initiative. The Allanton World Peace Sanctuary, for example, works to educate through a program called the ‘Peace Prevails Programme’ which they began in 2005. This program trains teachers who work with the next generation children of the world to incorporate within their daily school education an awareness of what world peace can be and how it might look for the future. The specific course teachers can take is called “May Peace Prevail On Earth” and is available on-line to educators around the world. The Allanton World Peace Sanctuary hopes through this initiative to expose educators all over the world to the idea of World Peace, with the hope that this idea can be passed on to the next generation.

The World Peace Festival, which follows the Soul of WoMen event, is on June 24th and consists of a World Peace Flag ceremony, live music, and many diverse workshops that celebrate the cultural diversity of humanity.

More information about the event or how to make a donation to give your support can be found here.

Pictures credit to Helene Pambrun and the World Peace Festival website. Clare Uchima’s picture was taken by a fan, to whom we give credit. 

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Article: Harry Styles supports @GLSEN during “pride month” by releasing new rainbow t-shirts 🏳️‍🌈

Article: Harry Styles supports @GLSEN during “pride month” by releasing new rainbow t-shirts

IMG_0853June 6th, 2018: On June 5th 2018, Harry Styles twitter account @HSHQ announced that a limited edition of Harry Styles “Treat People With Kindness” t-shirts will be available online for the month of June to show support for “Pride Month”. The two t-shirts are a black and a white one and feature the quote “Treat People With Kindness” in the colors of rainbow. @HSHQ announced that the proceeds from the sale of these t-shirts will be donated to GLSEN.

GLSEN is a USA based educational organization that works to support an inclusive and safe school environment grades 1 through 12. GLSEN (formerly known as Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) was founded in 1990 by Kevin Jennings, a high school history teacher in Boston, Massachusetts. Kevin Jennings led a coalition of gay and lesbian teachers to form what was initially called the Gay and Lesbian Independent School Teacher Network (GLISTN). The organization was subsequently renamed GLSEN to include participation of straight allies.

The organization was establish in response to the wide spread bullying and harassment of LGBTQ children and youth in schools across the nation. It was noted that in addition to feeling marginalized, LGBTQ students often suffer a drop of academic performance as a result of the bullying which too often causes these children to skip school.

At the time in which the organization was founded, it was supported by the work of 70 LGBTQ teachers who volunteered their time to train teachers to implement measures to provide a safe environment for LGBTQ students. Since then, GLSEN has expanded exponentially and has now 39 chapters in all the 26 states, 20,000 educators, and more than 8,000 registered student clubs.

The work of GLSEN is guided by research such as GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey, which provides information on the challenges that LGBTQ children face every day in school. Based on this research GLSEN has developed resources including lesson plans, classroom material and training programs for teachers on how to support their LGBTQ students. One of the successful plans put forth by GLSEN is called Ready, Set, Respect! This is an elementary school toolkit which was developed to help teachers provide a safe environment in which students feel respected.

GLSEN has also numerous initiatives throughout the school year to bring awareness to bullying and discrimination of LGBTQ students. These include GLSEN’s Day of Silence, a day in which students practice a form of silence to bring attention to the silencing by bullying and harassment of the LGBTQ community. The first day of silence was 1996 and was organized by students at the university of Virginia.
The day of silence now takes place in over 8,000 schools across that USA and has spread to more than 60 countries. GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week: this is a initiative that takes place in elementary and middle schools across the country to support the end of bullying and to celebrate kindness. No Name-Calling Week is inspired by novel The Misfits by James Howe. GLSEN’s Ally Week was started in 2005 by GLSEN’s Jump-Start National Student Leadership team. This is a week in the fall dedicated to educate allies about the important role they play in creating a safe and inclusive environment for LGBTQs. Finally the Think Before You Speak campaign was first launched in 2008 with the goal of eliminating homophobic vocabulary and anti-LGBTQ biases. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness among students but also adults including teachers, school personnel, and parents. The campaign runs through TV and radio commercials.

IMG_0856.PNGGLSEN has steadily expanded its scope and reach in the last 28 years leading also to the establishment of a national student council. GLSEN continues to conduct research not only to document the challenges of LGBTQ youth in schools but also to improve their approach to fight bullying and harassment. GLSEN headquarters are in New York City and it has an office of public policy in Washington DC. You can learn more about GLSEN’s work by visiting their website.

Picture of Harry Styles credited to @Harry_Styles.

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Article: Twitter has a new approach to fight bullying and harassment

Article: Twitter has a new approach to fight bullying and harassment

images-1June 3rd, 2018: Last month Twitter announced that it is putting in place new measures to fight bullying on this social media platform. Twitter, like Instagram and Facebook, is under pressure to develop ways to reduce the bullying and harassment that goes on online and that too often targets children, women, and minorities.

The new algorithm that Twitter is testing flags problematic accounts by examining behavior. For example, accounts that tweet a lot to accounts that don’t follow them or that have not confirmed their email address may be flagged and their replies on tweets may be pushed down at the bottom of the pile. They may also appear less in searches. These two effects combined will highlight more constructive discussions on Twitter. These behaviors alone will not cause necessarily your account to be suspended but it may cause flagging. When this new algorithm was tested it reduced reporting of bullying and harassment in searches by 4% and in conversations by 8%.

UnknownThe chief executive and co-founder of Twitter Jack Dorsey (on the left here) said “We want to take the burden of the work off the people receiving the abuse or the harassment,” He also said that the approaches Twitter has used in the past “felt like Whac-A-Mole,” as when measures were taken to curb bullying from one particular group, another would pop up.

Twitter has been working on trying to reduce harassment on this media platform as it is driving people away especially, as mentioned above, from more vulnerable groups. Twitter has had clear rules of conduct on the platform in place for some time now and has had tools available to the users to curb harassment including the options to mute or block accounts, and report them (available at this link). However, these measures have not been enough to limit bullying and harassment. Thus, Twitter has renewed their effort to fight bullying and harassment using new methodologies. Other approaches in addition to this new algorithm mentioned above will be implemented in the next months.

Twitter hopes also to revitalize its business, as more people signing up to use this social media platform, instead of being driven away, would mean more marketers willing to pay for adds.

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Article: New Instagram anti-bullying and anti-harassment filter

Article: New Instagram anti-bullying and anti-harassment filter

UnknownMay 28th, 2018: Instagram has introduced a new filter which detects and filters out abusive and harassing comments that are posted in reply to photographs and videos posted on this social media platform. Instagram also plans to review accounts that repetitively post filtered out comments and take appropriate measures including suspending them.

The initiative comes following a study conducted in 2017 by the anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label which found that over 71% of the individuals surveyed stated that social media does not do enough to curb bullying and harassment online. The numbers are especially concerning when it comes to Instagram with 42% of individuals between the ages of 12 and 20 stating that they have been bullied or harassed on this particular social media platform in the last 12 months.

Two prominent cases of bullying on Instagram were brought to light recently, one involving model and actress Amber Rose and one involving Drew Barrymore. Amber Rose in March of this year called out cyberbullies for posting bullying comments under a video she posted of her son opening a gift from Taylor Swift. Drew Barrymore was this year target of online abuse after posting a short video of herself holding a starfish. The post went from being about lipstick to animal abuse. Drew Barrymore said in a subsequent post “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

The filter that Instagram has introduced is a machine-learning algorithm developed by Facebook, which owns Instagram, that detects certain words and reviews them for context and meaning, flagging the post if it fits criteria of abuse and bullying.

Instagram is taking online bullying and abuse, often mistakenly justified as “freedom of speech”, very seriously. “To be clear, we don’t tolerate bullying on Instagram,” Kevin Systrom, the company’s chief executive and co-founder. He added “Protecting our youngest community members is crucial to helping them feel comfortable to express who they are and what they care about”.

Instagram is also promoting a “kindness” campaign by hosting events that promote inclusion and diversity. “It’s been our goal to make it a safe place for self expression and to foster kindness within the community,” Mr. Systrom said. “This update is just the next step in our mission to deliver on that promise.”

You can also report bullying and harassment on Instagram by visiting the following link.

 

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Article: The Remembering Nell Foundation

Article: The Remembering Nell Foundation



UnknownMay 18th, 2018:
The Remembering Nell foundation was founded by the family of Nell Jones, the 14 years old from Cheshire who lost her life, together with other 22 people, in the Manchester arena bombing last May at the Ariana Grande’s concert.

The foundation aims at supporting disadvantaged youth in the North West area of the UK by donating to 3 main local charities: The Wingate Centre in Nantwich, Cheshire, which supports children and young adults with disabilities in the area by planning activity days and sports for schools, groups and individuals; the Wood Street Mission, a Manchester based charity which helps children and families affected by poverty in the area; and Autism Cheshire, which supports children with autism spectrum disorder and Asperger, whether they are diagnosed or not. The idea behind the remembering Nell Foundation is to help children and young adults reach their potential, something Nell unfortunately will not have the opportunity to do but that she would be very proud of supporting.

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Nell’s father Sam said about establishing the foundation: “We set up the Remembering Nell Foundation in memory of Nell, with the intention of taking something positive from everything that has fallen on us. Nell was a fantastic listener, she would always be there for people, and that’s where we wanted to go with the foundation”.

The foundation in the short time it has been active has already accomplished a few important goals, including the establishment of a garden next to the Cheshire school Nell was attending. The garden is next to the school but it is on public ground so that anybody can enjoy it. One of the main features of the garden is a stream of painted peddles with messages from Nell’s classmates and friends. Many of the peddles have lyrics of the Ariana Grande’s song “Moonlight” and others have messages of love for Nell and remembrance of fun times spent with her.

Below the garden dedicated to Nell Jones with the painted peddles. Freya Lewis is holding in her hands one of the peddles. 

Another goal accomplished by the foundation was to raise more than 20,000 pounds at their first Spring Ball which took place on April 21stat the Mere Hotel in Knustford. With these funds the foundation will be able to help projects of the 3 local charities they have selected to support. Local students and individuals have also helped with fundraising for Remembering Nell by participating to races. For example Molly Butler, a student at Nell’s school, is running 50 miles over the course of May by taking part in the ‘Race At Your Pace’ challenge, and has set up a justgiving page whose donations will be turned over to Remembering Nell. Also, Nell’s brother Joe will be running the half marathon at the Great Manchester Run, raising funds The Remembering Nell Foundation (just giving page here).Db-eJCZXUAAYrTC

Nell Jones was remembered by her best friend and classmate Freya Lewis this week as she accepted the NHS Young Fundraiser Award for raising £27,000 for the Manchester’s hospital that treated her (our article here). Freya was seriously injured in the Manchester Arena bombing but luckily has made nearly a full recovery after being treated at the Manchester hospital. On May 14th on stage while she received her award from Louis Tomlinson, Freya in tears dedicated the award to Nell.

You can learn more about Remembering Nell by visiting their twitter and facebook accounts.

Pictures credit to Remembering Nell’s twitter account and the Manchester Evening News.

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Article: Louis Tomlinson presents Freya Lewis with NHS Young Fundraiser Award

Article: Louis Tomlinson presents Freya Lewis with NHS Young Fundraiser Award

IMG_5156May 15th, 2018: Last night in London the National Health Service (NHS) Heroes Awards dinner took place honoring people from 11 categories that, with their work and heroism through NHS, save lives and make the lives of others better. The awards announcement came in March of this year as part of the National Health Service 70 years anniversary celebrations.

Among the people who received the award is 15 year old Freya Lewis, one of the victims of the Manchester arena bombing at the Ariana Grande’ s concert in May of last year. Freya received the Young Fundraiser Award for raising £27,000 for the Manchester’s hospital that treated her. Louis Tomlinson was the celebrity who presented Freya with her award.

 

Freya had suffered numerous fractures, burns and lacerations when the bomb that killed 22 concert goers, including Freya’s friend Nell, went off just outside one of the entrances of the Manchester arena. She was hospitalized for over a month and had numerous surgeries to repair the damages caused by the blast. Freya was wheelchair bound for 3 months but was able to beat the odds and walk again, despite the initial grim diagnosis. In talking about Freya’s incredible recovery her mom said: “She is so determined. She has shown the most incredible strength.”

In an article we published in September, we reported how Harry Styles had dedicated his performance of Sign of the Times for his TV special in Manchester to Freya. Harry also met Freya who had recovered from her injuries at that time, during that event.

 

 

At the beginning of this year both Freya and her father Nick decided to take part in the Great Manchester run on May 20th to raise funds for MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY NHS FOUNDATION TRUST CHARITY, that took care of Freya and saved her life last year. While Nick will run the 10 k, Freya will run (or walk) the 2.5 k. Freya even had to postpone her last surgery for after the run in order to be able to participate (our article here).

When Freya was presented with the award by Louis Tomlinson, she could not contain her tears as this marks an incredibly challenging year for her. The fundraiser started by Freya for the Manchester University NHS foundation trust is still open. You can make your contribution by visiting this page. We wish Freya and her father Nick the best in the Great Manchester run later this month. You can can catch the NHS Heroes Awards ceremony on May 21st on ITV.

Pictures with Louis Tomlinson credit to the Mirror.

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