Differences and acceptance rock and Malala Yousafzai talks the talk and walks the walk. Think about it. Think about her. Think about what she survived. Think about what she has said. And think about what she is doing to change the world. All she wanted was to become a doctor. All that she wanted was to study and gain knowledge in a place where girls’ access to education was limited or even denied. She believed in the value of education for girls and spoke out on the subject.
Because of that, masked Taliban gunmen took arm against a defenseless bus filled with schoolgirls. They singled out Malala and shot her in the head and neck and all assumed she wouldn’t survive. Well, “all” were wrong! This amazing young woman overcame the odds of the vicious attack and is now holding the microphone and exemplifying all that is good in the world. As her passion about the value of education spills out into her audiences, it has the same effect as sunshine on the morning dew. And how could it be any other way?
As so many young people focus on texting, social media, video games and reality TV, Malala is concentrating on changing the world. Glamour Women of the Year awards were presented and the most prominent of women were on stage. Many of their accomplishments paled in comparison to those of Malala Yousafzai.
“We love you, Malala!” could be heard from a group of young girls in a balcony in Carnegie Hall, where the annual event was held. Malala blew a kiss and then proceeded to engage the audience with her courage and words of wisdom.
The other honorees repeatedly referred to Malala in their acceptance speeches. One of the comments that seems most poignant came from the super model Iman. After hearing Malal’s speech she said, “She is a game-changer for girls. I wish young girls here knew more about Malala, and less about the Kardashians.”
Malala Yousafzai should be everyone’s hero. She is our hero.
“We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced.” ~ Malala Yousafzai
One of the things that we try to do here is share stories about people who do something that many people wouldn’t or couldn’t do. Our heroes make a difference for someone or for many and they come from every walk of life and every age. It is for that reason, we have created Rugby’s Wall of Heroes.
This wall is very important because it displays the names of heroes of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages and sexes. Those who have their names placed on this wall have shown courage, strength, compassion, wisdom, kindness, sincerity, honesty and so many other qualities.
Some of them are famous and some of them are not. They are everyday people like Wayne Isaacs who spent his days playing the harp for patients, their loved ones and staff at hospitals in order to sooth their spirits. They are also famous people like Anderson Cooper who had the courage to speak out and embrace his difference. They are people like Stash Serafin, the blind figure skater who exemplifies courage.
Each and every name on this wall stands for someone who has made a difference because he or she cared enough to do something. We want to add more and more heroes because children of all ages need to see that kind, honest and courageous efforts are respected and honored.
This wall is about heroes who are trying to lower the numbers of bullying events but this wall is also about people who just live with kindness and compassion. It is about people who serve as examples to everyone by the way they live their lives. It is about those who stand up to be heard and have the courage to make a difference! Children of all ages need heroes and that is why this hero wall was created.
The following are just a few of our heroes.
Do you remember…
- A Corpus Christi Texas student named Tyrell Clay who gave up his prom king crown to a bullied student by the name of Adam Chadwick? There are actually several heroes in this story. It goes without saying that Tyrell’s unselfish and kind actions make him a hero but there are other heroes. The other heroes are the people who modeled kindness and unselfishness for him to emulate. Parents, you have so much responsibility when it comes to your children.
- Alexis Wineman, who was crowned Miss Montana? She was the first Miss America Contestant who had been diagnosed with Autism in the pageant’s 92 years. Anyone who has listened to Alexis’s comments during her interviews heard her courage and desire to accomplish the same things that people without Autism can accomplish. She has been quoted as saying, “I have overcome a lot. I have overcome so many of my symptoms.”
- Elisha “Eli” Reimer, a fifteen year old and the first person with Down’s Syndrome to reach the base station of Mount Everest. This amazing young man has a passion for sports and his enthusiasm for “life” is contagious. Eli trained for over a year before he began his unique climb. He and his dad and six others hiked with purpose. They climbed 17,600 feet in frigid temperatures to benefit the Elisha Foundation.
- Kris Doubledee was driving his bus in the downtown area of Winnipeg when he saw a homeless man walking barefoot. What happened next was a random act of kindness on the part of this caring bus driver. He pulled the bus to the side of the road and took off the shoes he had on his own feet and gave them to the homeless man. With his task completed, Doubledee returned to his bus to continue driving his route but now without his shoes.
Do you know anyone who should be added to Rugby’s Wall of Heroes? If you do, we love to hear his or her story.