“How Will YOU Create
Positive Change?”

By Leah Oviedo

Is there something negative about your community or the world that
you want to change? The good news is that YOU ARE CPABALE of
making that happen. Real sustainable change happens when we
consciously choose to change our individual lives and make different
decisions. Through our personal actions we create a ripple effect, we
become role models, and we inspire others to see how they can succeed
by showing them what works. If you want to make a positive difference
in the life of others you must lead by example.

The founders of 16 amazing organizations, programs, and social
movements have shared their experience with how they created positive
change and what inspired them to act. They shared what obstacles they
overcame and the results of all that work. From their stories you will
have a blueprint of how to get involved and create positive change.

The role models in this book are not famous and don‘t have millions of
dollars. They are not politicians or CEO‘s of large corporations. The
media doesn‘t report their every move in the news, yet they are creating
change that affects you, me, and billions of people. They are human
rights activists, environmentalists, health activists, youth mentors,
educators, innovators, and community leaders. They are different
genders, ages, and skin colors. They live in different countries and have
different beliefs. What they share in common is taking action to solve a
problem. They consciously chose to make our world happier, healthier,
safer, and accepting of others. They were not simply handed an
opportunity, but instead saw problems and created solutions.

At the end of the book is information to help you take that first step and
some resources to help you succeed.

My hope is this inspires you to be a force of change for good. Always
remember that you are capable. Follow your passion to people and
places who can guide you on your path. It has been said many times
that you must actively be the change you want to see(in your personal
life, community, and the world) for that change to happen. Wishing for
and hoping will not make change. Learn from these amazing people.
Take that first step and see what you can create.

Change is up to you.

*As you read please keep in mind that not all of the people in this book
write or speak English as their first language.

Jasmine Gray of Jaz’s Jammies & More Than Skin Deep pg.4

Frank Baird of Walk a Mile in Her Shoes pg.7

Ameila Roskin Frazee of Make it Safe pg.11

Ryland King of Sprout Up pg.13

Lauren Parsekian & Molly Thompson of the Kind Campaign pg.16

Ian Quinn of Halt the Hate pg.19

Maria Mejia an AIDS and HIV activist pg.22

Emily May of Hollaback pg.26

Tun Sukonthamarn Flancman of PooPoo Paper pg.29

Shadrak Kyobe of Empower And Care Organization, EACO pg.31

Nakisha Varlack-Harris of Girl Power United pg.35

Katia Gomez of Educate 2 Envision pg.38

Ron Tinsley of Prophetik Soul pg.41

Linda Le of San Diego Veg Fest pg.44

Christopher McFadden Jr. Youth Mentor pg.47

Kirin Macapugay of BIBAK Youth pg.50

- It’s Up To You pg.55

Jasmine Gray
“Jaz’s Jammies” and “More Than Skin Deep”

Jasmine Gray is the founder of Jaz‘s Jammies which provides free, new
pajamas to children who experience extended stays in hospitals and
shelters. She was inspired from her own experiences with fighting a rare
and painful birth defect AVM(Arteriovenous Malformation). More Than
Skin Deep is a documentary she is creating to share the story of herself
and others who are fighting AVM, including her surgeon and his search
for a cure.

What was your inspiration or what necessitated you to begin
this adventure? I was inspired to start Jaz‘s Jammies Inc. after
spending months in the hospital battling a rare birth defect called
Arteriovenous Malformation. I continued to be as active as I could in Girl
Scouts throughout the years, and when it was time to do our senior
community service project, I decided to address the need for more
comfort for those staying extended periods of time in the hospital.

More Than Skin Deep was inspired by my specialist James Suen at the
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences telling me that at 71-years-
old he was determined to find a cure for Arteriovenous Malformation
(AVM) and then retire. He was building a super team of doctors and
scientist for the task. I felt the world needed to know about their efforts
and about the patients surviving and thriving with AVM. I decided to put
the M.A. in TV/Film that I had recently earned from Syracuse University
to a good cause, and document it all.

What steps did you take to create your program? To create Jaz
Jammies Inc., I first completed a pajama drive as a Girl Scout Gold
Award project, and we collected over 850 pairs of pajamas. Then, I
decided to continue the drive by partnering with the school I was
attending for undergrad, Middle Tennessee State University. The school‘s
Office of Leadership and Development allowed me to have collection
boxes in various buildings and also paid for flyers. I also developed
relationships with campus groups who collected pajamas on behalf of
our organization. Then, while at Syracuse, I submitted the necessary
paperwork to become a 501c3.

For More Than Skin Deep, I created an fundraiser with the intention of
raising $5,000 toward the documentary. With the help of Indiegogo and
other personal/organizational contributions, we were able to raise
$10,000. This money has gone toward purchasing a camera and filming
of short films featuring AVM survivors. Then, these films will be used to
garner awareness and secure a partner to fund the full-length

What obstacles were you forced to overcome? With Jaz‘s Jammies,
one obstacle was making sure that communities and people on campus
were aware that the drive was going on so that we would have enough
people collecting pajamas.

With More Than Skin Deep, one obstacle was finding the funding to
move forward with production. We have at least been able to gather
enough resources to start the process.

What were the hardest problems to solve or actions to take? The
hardest problem to solve with Jaz‘s Jammies is maintaining the same
level of pajama collection each year. Because my family and I have the
majority of the responsibility with the small size of Jaz‘s Jammies at this
point, it can be hard to complete all the work necessary to keep the
pajamas rolling in. It is a matter of people knowing about the
organization and taking the time to collect.

With More Than Skin Deep, the hardest problems revolve around being
able to follow the most compelling AVM survivors and getting a network
or other partner to get involved with providing the funding needed to
complete the film. Production cost can mount with travel and other
expenses. Even though technology has made filming cheaper, it still
costs travel to different locations, have the necessary equipment and
complete the post production necessary to create a high quality film

What must you do to stay operational? With Jaz‘s Jammies, now
that we have a solid foundation, we need to create partnerships with
other organizations that have access to people who could create pajama
drives on behalf of the organization. We also need to develop a strong
board that can provide the knowledge and resources needed to expand
the organizational infrastructure of the organization.

More Than Skin Deep has to continue filming with AVM patients,
continue to build buzz around the films progress, and the capitalize with
partnerships that yield access to funding and distribution sources.

Who, if anyone, helped you succeed? My faith and dependence on
God have allowed me the emotional and spiritual foundation I‘ve needed
to overcome my personal obstacles and the opportunities needed to
further my goals. My family – parents, sister, extended family – and
loved ones have been instrumental in giving me the support and
encouragement needed along the way.

Do you have any advice for readers who want to get involved or
start a similar program? The best advice I can give you is look at the
obstacles you have survived in your life and ask yourself, ―how can I use
all of these things to make a positive impact in someones life?‖ ―What
lessons have I learned and how can I find creative ways to pass those
lessons on to those around me?‖ Make sure you have a strong spiritual
foundation and a few people you can trust because this will carry you
through the challenges you will face as you begin your journey to
starting your own program.

What else should we know about your work? Jaz‘s Jammies and
More Than Skin Deep both need passionate, hardworking people to keep
the nonprofit and film project moving forward. Jaz‘s Jammies needs
people who can host drives, create events, or otherwise participate.
More Than Skin Deep needs creative minds of all kinds to create an
awareness movement for rare vascular abnormalities around this film.

Please go to www.JazsJammies.org and www.MoreThanSkinDeep.me to
find out more.

Email jazsjammies@gmail.com or morethanskindeepmovie@gmail.com
to get involved.

Follow on Twitter at @MoreThanAVM

Frank Baird
“Walk a Mile In Her Shoes”

Frank Baird created a program to involve men in ending sexual assault
and violence towards women. Walk a Mile In Her Shoes is an
―international march to stop rape, sexual assault, and gender violence‖.
Men participate by actually walking a mile in women‘s high heel shoes.
This is not to prove that men can handle pain. It is an opportunity for
whole communities to talk about violence against women. Gender and
sexual violence can be uncomfortable to talk about. With these marches,
both victims and those who would like to pretend it doesn‘t exist are
given a chance to create long term change in their communities and
support local rape crisis centers.

What was your inspiration or what necessitated you to begin
this adventure? Most perpetrators of sexualized violence are men, but
most men are not perpetrators. I was working as a therapist at a rape
crisis center that helped women overcome the negative effects of
sexualized violence. The organization had a prevention education
program, but it was small and the typical didactic information spoken at
people instead of with them. Experiential education is much more
effective than didactic information, so I wanted to create an education
program that was dramatic, impactful and could reach more and more
men, something with publicity power. Typical prevention education
programs require an organization to actively outreach. If we could
develop a program that was so interesting people would seek us out, we
could spend more time educating rather than looking for opportunities to

What steps did you take to create your program? We wanted to
create an opportunity for men to want to become involved in efforts to
end sexualized violence. We wanted to avoid traditional didactic
information that "talks at" instead of "with." We wanted to create an
experience that has greater impact and memorability than simple
didactic information.

We thought it would be fun to use the metaphor, "you can't really
understand a person's experience until you walk a mile in their shoes,"
and have men literally walk one mile in women's high heeled shoes. Patti
Dengler and I explored and developed how it would work, how we would
insure that men and onlookers would have the experience we intended
and get the messages we intended. Then we pitched the idea to small
groups of women and men. We wanted to get the first reaction when
someone heard about this. When that went well, we enlisted the aid of a
local rape crisis center and organized the first Walk a Mile in Her Shoes®
Event in 2001 in the San Fernando Valley in California.

Following the first Walk Event, the enthusiasm of the organizers and
the participants spread throughout California as everyone talked about
the event and and their experience of it. Walk Events began in California,
then in a few other states and Canada. Once we put up a web page
where people world-wide could get information on the Walk and see
pictures of men in heels that legitimized this effort, the momentum
gained exponentially.

What obstacles were you forced to overcome?
Obstacles we overcame:
Uncertainty that this was a good idea.
Uncertainty that this idea would actually get men involved in ending
sexualized violence.
Uncertainty that this idea would be understood as a sincere effort and
not parody.
Uncertainty that men would actually learn something from the
Uncertainty that this idea would actually raise funds for local rape crisis
centers or domestic violence shelters.
Recruiting local rape crisis centers, some of whom were suspicious of
men who claimed to be interested in helping with this cause.
Making sure the press got the intended message and did not distort or
Figuring out how to coordinate world-wide efforts with next to no money
and nearly no staff.
How to expand the message and effectiveness of Walk Events.
Making money for headquarters in addition to all the local organizations.

Ok, we haven't overcome that obstacle yet. Except for registration fees
and a few donations here and there, all the money raised by Walk
Events goes to the local rape crisis center or domestic violence shelter
beneficiary. We are still trying to figure out how our headquarters can
earn more money so we can further develop the Walk and its

What were the hardest problems to solve or actions to take? The
hardest problem to solve has been coordinating world-wide efforts with
an extremely small staff at headquarters. We have managed to
automate some tasks, but we continue to have to manually process Walk

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful