Wearing a face mask continues to be one of the most effective actions an individual can take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It’s an action that comes from empathy and shows you care about each other, while caring about yourself. To inspire people to take this simple step toward empathy, Los Angeles-based, global nonprofit Today, I’m Brave (TIB) announced the official launch of its Empathy Masks, which kicks it off with a national campaign “#icareaboutyou” to support children, homeless youth and adults who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, as well as the frontline volunteers serving these communities.
The Empathy Masks are designed with the words “i care about you” displayed across the front as a clear message of caring for each other and the world, which is especially vital for those who are most at-risk and who may need an extra dose of empathy during these challenging times.
For the roll-out of #icareaboutyou, TIB is partnering with nonprofit organizations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami, Detroit and Mexicali and with social influencers in each of the communities who will be delivering the Empathy Masks to the nonprofits, and amplifying the Share One, Wear One and Show the World You Care messaging through their respective social channels.
The partner organizations and social influencers are:
Hollywood Food Coalition: providing warm, nutritious meals for homeless youth and adults, along with access to basic daily needs such as clothing, backpacks, sleeping bags, and hygiene items, as well as assistance with housing placement and referrals. Social Influencer: International Celebrity Model, Actress, and Doctor of Biomedical Engineering, Megan Pormer.
Atlanta Children’s Shelter: providing free, quality day care, emotional support, an educational curriculum for homeless children, and focused social services for their families. Social Influencer: Model, Founder of Black Girl Beautiful, and Today, I’m Brave Ambassador, Nikia Phoenix.
Lotus House in Miami: improving the lives of homeless women, youth and children by providing sanctuary, support, education, tools and resources that empower them to heal, learn, grow and blossom into who they are truly meant to be. Social Influencer: Celebrity TV Personality, Broadcast Journalist and Contestant on the 23rd Season of The Bachelor, Nicole Lopez-Alvar.
Ruth Ellis Center in Detroit: providing trauma-informed services for lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth, and young adults, with an emphasis on young people of color, experiencing homelessness. Social Influencers: Social Media Celebrities and Content Creators Kenny Knox and Angelo (a.k.a Dopeisland).
Casa Hogar Infantil Uriel A.C. in Mexicali: committed to helping girls and boys in need and advocating for fair and equitable conditions for all. Sister Margaret Farrell, a “street Nun” that serves Los Angeles’ Skid Row and an influencer in her own right, will be delivering masks to the orphans.
“The power of empathy is more important now than ever. We are thrilled to be partnering with likeminded organizations and passionate influencers to spread the word about how much stronger we are as a society when we come together to overcome obstacles," said Lindsay Stein, CEO, Today, I'm Brave. "When an action comes from a place of empathy, people feel it. Imagine the difference we can make if collectively we choose to wear a mask with the sole intention of caring for our loved ones, our community, along with ourselves. The groundswell for a movement like that would be palpable and the ripple effect far-reaching. Let's make the reason we wear masks bigger than ourselves; let’s make it come from empathy.”
“What resonated the most about this campaign are the very words displayed on the mask, ‘i care about you’ is what we say to the people who come to us for help each day,” said Sherry Bonanno, Executive Director, Hollywood Food Coalition. “These are people who don’t feel worthy or cared about, they don’t feel their lives matter. And here’s where empathy plays a big part. Understanding that they didn’t start their lives this way, they didn’t plan it, something happened to them is so important. And showing them that they are worthy human beings, has the ability to change their lives. The Empathy Masks are so powerful, because without even saying a word, the masks reinforce the message that our clients are cared about by the larger community and that they, in turn, care about themselves and others.”
“COVID-19 has been an extremely difficult time for us, particularly for the LGBTQ+ young people we serve who are 2.2 times more likely to experience homelessness. And that number exponentially increases for Black LGBTQ+ young people, who are 4 times more likely to end up homeless. So it’s even more vital to do what we can to help keep them safe and healthy,” said Nazarina Minaya, Senior Development Associate, Ruth Ellis Center. “Health is such an important pillar for us, and to collaborate with an organization like Today, I’m Brave that not only understands the underserved population we serve, but also provides a way we can help, is phenomenal. Wearing a mask is one of the most empathic actions you can take, it’s a sign that I care about you, and you care about me.”
“The Atlanta Children’s Shelter is fortunate to be supported by Today, I’m Brave. Our shelter serves families with young children living in poverty and on the streets of Atlanta,” said Sandra Holiday, Executive Director, Atlanta Children’s Shelter. “We nurture them with love, give them respect and provide them with critical needs – food, housing, healthcare, childcare, education and jobs. We cannot keep our doors open during this pandemic without life-saving PPE. Today, I’m Brave is meeting our critical need for face masks so we can continue to work tirelessly to meet the critical needs of others.”
The #icareaboutyou campaign will continue to roll-out throughout the year delivering Empathy Masks to schools, colleges and shelters in other underserved communities throughout the U.S.
The Empathy Masks can be purchased at TIB’s website here. They are made of 100% soft, breathable cotton, reusable and washable and come in a two-pack for $14. Wear a mask and share a mask and show the world you care. With every mask purchased, your order benefits one of the four U.S. nonprofit partners of your choice.
About Today, I’m Brave
Founded in 2016, Today, I’m Brave (TIB) is a global nonprofit organization with a mission to unlock bravery in the youth of today, so they can take on the biggest challenges of tomorrow. Our core focus is around three pillars of inspiration and change, including diversity, equity and inclusion; education; and health and wellness.TIB began as a movement to inspire a community of children in Sierra Leone, devasted by civil war and the Ebola virus, to unlock their bravery and build on their practice of inner dependence to help them navigate through the crisis. In partnership with Shine On Sierra Leone, TIB created a curriculum around the power of bravery for an elementary school called Muddy Lotus in their community, which focused on inspiring one another in the face of adversity. A few months later, we received a video from the children in Sierra Leone sharing how the message of TIB transformed them. From there TIB grew into a nonprofit. From working with the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles to inspire kids fighting serious health issues to creating the 100Roofs Project and raising over $1 million dollars to build homes for families in Puerto Rico who were devastated by Hurricane Maria and Irma – and much more – TIB continues its work to make the world and its youth a braver place. To learn more, visit www.todayimbrave.org.