The Power of One
March is Women’s History Month, when we recognize the accomplishments of women. I have always said one determined woman with a mission and vision can change the world. All of us can make a difference. It does not have to be a huge grand gesture, but being mindful of decisions we make and how they affect others makes a difference.
It can be the simple act of recycling, making time to volunteer for charities, kindness you show to strangers, or other things you do to make the world a better place.
Think of Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Greta Thunberg, a 17-year-old environmental activist. At 15, she started protesting for stronger action on global warming outside Swedish Parliament. She started a movement named Fridays for Future, which was a school climate strike, which led to her addressing the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit.
Laxmi Agarwal of India was attacked by a 32-year-old man throwing acid on her. It mobilized her to start Stop Acid Attacks and speak out for the rights of acid attack victims. India had about 300 recorded acid attacks in 2016 and they continue to be an issue. Stop Acid Attacks also runs a chain of cafes called “Sheroes Hangout Café,” managed by acid attack survivors.
Malala Yousafzai became a Pakistani activist for female education when the Taliban was banning girls from attending school. She won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her activism for the right to education. She spoke out and wrote a blog detailing her life during the Taliban occupation. How sad that her activism prompted an assassination attempt against her. But she survived and co-founded the Malala Fund, a non-profit that fights for girls’ education.
Locally, Betsy Farmer and Kim Frodge have greatly impacted Brevard County. Betsy’s desire to have a place for her then young son, Luke, to learn and be integrated in a supportive environment motivated her to start the Space Coast Early Intervention Center. Once he was grown, her desire to know he would be safe and able to live on his own led her to start Promise in Brevard.
Kim Frodge wanted abused and neglected children to be taken care of in a home for as long as they needed. Now, Nana’s House has six new buildings in a gated community and a new thrift store location.
The power of one does not mean you have to do everything alone. It means one person with a passion for a cause or idea can mobilize others through their vision and mission to become involved and make an impact. When we think about our place in the world, being mindful of what we can do to impact society will make us all champions for positive change.
Nancy Peltonen serves as President/CEO with The Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves on committees for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, Palm Bay Maker Faire Committee, and State Small Business Expo Partner, and still finds time to volunteer with many local organizations and travel the world.
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