Odyssey Impact: A Mom's Post Leads To A Family-Friendly Change At A Local Mall

Odyssey Impact: A Mom's Post Leads To A Family-Friendly Change At A Local Mall

A Tennessee mall changed its policies after a local mom posted her story on Odyssey.
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When Tiffany Rawlin joined Odyssey, she set out to share her perspective—like everyone else on the platform. But when she wrote a post earlier this year about an unpleasant experience she had at the Stones River Mall in Murfreesboro, Tenn., she never expected she would be the one to prompt a serious change.

Tiffany, who is a part of the Murfeesboro, Tenn. Odyssey community, has been sharing her perspective as a young wife and mom since she joined in May. She’s covered every aspect of parenthood and family life from “11 Unexpected Parent Phrases” to “A Bad Mom’s Take On ‘Bad Moms,’” but when she and a group of mothers were disrespected at their local mall, she took to Odyssey to report on the wrongdoing.

She recounted the day she and a group of other moms took their children to the mall’s indoor playground area. When their kids started playing, security staff approached the group and asked them to leave the area.

Rawlin was baffled. Her plan of action was to leave a negative review on the mall’s Facebook page, and she would have stopped there had it not been for others who, over the course of several weeks, also spoke out against the mall security staff. They, too, had been asked to leave the playground after displaying completely normal and reasonable behavior.

Rawlin relayed one mother’s story in her post:

She had brought her oldest son, who has high functioning autism, prepared with books and school work to occupy him. While she was turned around trying to help her toddlers take their shoes off, a security guard asked her older son to leave the area immediately. Following orders, he did so. When the mom turned around, her son was nowhere to be found. Luckily he was not too far off, but things could have been much worse.

"I realized it wasn't a fluke lapse of judgment," said Rawlin. It was then that she decided something else needed to be done, and what better way to spread the word than on Odyssey? She wrote a post retelling her story and the other parents’ experiences. Soon, her network of parents and their networks began sharing the story on social media.

"I was seeing my article being shared over and over again by moms all around middle Tennessee, some I've never met," said Rawlin, who certainly wanted to invoke a change, but didn’t expect the story to gain as much traction as it did.

“When my article kind of took off, I remember wondering how big it could get... it was nice being able to see that we weren't the only ones having issues and that other people wanted change too.”

But it wasn’t just angry parents who took notice of her story. The post had circulated so quickly that within just a few days, the mall had also seen the post and issued this response on Facebook addressing the concerns of its frustrated customers.

Rawlin was ecstatic to find the mall had apologized, but it didn’t end there. The day after she posted on Odyssey, the Daily News Journal, a local affiliate of USA Today in Murfreesboro, picked up her story and even asked more parents for their perspective on the issue.

Despite her intention to spread word about the injustice she and her group experienced, "I never thought it would actually make change," Rawlin said.

After making a formal apology, the Stones River Mall has made changes in security staff and even started up special children’s events in August, adding a puppet show and a magic show to their calendar of events. And so far, no one’s been kicked off the premises since Rawlin’s post.

Rawlin realized after her post that one voice can be the beginning of an entire movement, and that perhaps if she hadn’t written about it, the mall wouldn’t have made the change. “While I know I'm not entirely to thank for that, knowing my words help make change means a lot.”

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To The Stoneman HS Colorguards

We are all with you and thinking of you at this time.
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When I was fourteen years old, I had just begun to explore the world of colorguard. I went to seven am rehearsals every day with my older brother which I thought was the coolest thing, I traveled for contests and experienced winterguard for the first time as well. My parents always made it to my performances and always made sure to tell me how proud they were of me and loved me after everything I have done.

As it has come to light that one of the victims of the Stoneman Douglas HS shooting in Florida was a fourteen-year-old girl by the name of Gina Montalto who had just begun her journey into a sport that I fell in love with so many years ago.

She was set to perform at her first WGI regional this weekend in Tampa as well. She had the world ahead of her as she went to school on Valentine's Day thinking it would be like any other school day. She was probably preparing herself for her performance this weekend alongside many amazing teammates who I have no doubt pushed her to be an amazing performer.

All I have seen is that she was a sweet and kind young woman who I have no doubt was special. I also saw that she was just beginning a journey into falling in love with an amazing sport.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves why I am writing about someone I never knew at this point. WGI is a community that connects people in ways you never expect. You meet performers from all across the United States as well as internationally. Many are lucky enough to keep these friendships for life. Gina is a member of a large community that has been sending its love and thoughts to Florida during this tragic time.

The colorguard community has also been standing up and asking for a change to prevent violence like this from continuing. I have seen it across my social media feeds for the past day that each colorguard page I follow regardless if it is the official WGI page, people like PunkRockIrving, or teams from across the entire country, they all share a similar message. A message of condolence and prayer along with a request for a change to begin.

As the days continue to pass by and competitions seem to fly by for so many performers whether it be on your state's circuit or within WGI, hug your friends and your teammates a little tighter as you go on through your season this year. Be a voice in the community that so many have called a home and do not be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.

Show the members of Stoneman Douglas HS winterguards how appreciated they are this season if you ever get the chance. Their performers are some of the most dedicated that I have ever seen at World Championships and over social media. I have the utmost confidence that Gina's legacy will be carried with each of them as they perform.

Cover Image Credit: Stoneman Douglas HS

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Why I'm Pro-Choice

Abortion: a necessary evil.
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I live in a very conservative area, so the pro-choice/pro-life debate is usually a hot topic. When I see a post on Facebook arguing about abortion, I try to ignore it for the most part. I chime in every now and then, but I know that my opinions mostly fall on deaf ears. But today I have decided to take a stance: I am pro-choice, and I have something to say.

Let me start off by saying that I am not pro-abortion. I think abortion is terrible and it’s sad that it exits. But, I do think that abortion is necessary. In the 50s and 60s, before Roe v. Wade, the number of illegal abortions was astronomically high. The number of illegal abortions ranged anywhere between 200,000 and over 1 million each year. Out of these, almost 20% of all maternal deaths were a result of illegal abortions. (source)

Since the legalization of abortion, many women now have access to the proper medical care necessary for safe abortions. The amount of women that die as a direct result of abortion is almost non-existent. The past has proven that make abortion illegal wont stop abortions from happening. This will only increase the amount of unsafe abortions and the number of women who die from them.

My next opinion is bound to make some people upset but, until it reaches a certain age, there is no way for a fetus to survive on its own. At this stage in development, the fetus is essentially a parasite. A parasite is defined as “an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host's expense.” Until a fetus reaches the stage at which it is able to survive on its own, I do not consider it to be a person. It sounds harsh, but it’s simply the reality of the situation. The earliest that a fetus can survive outside of the womb is about 22 weeks. (source) Abortions rarely occur after this stage in a pregnancy, and when they do, it is only when a doctor says that it is medically necessary. As of now, almost 99% of abortions occur before the 21st week of pregnancy. (source)

A lot of people will argue that, “if you don’t want a baby, you shouldn’t have sex.” This, I believe, is an irresponsible statement to make. Yes, it seems like the obvious solution, but one that is impossible to enforce. Instead of shaming women for their sex lives, we should be encouraging and education on safe sex practices and making it easier for them to obtain contraceptives. This would greatly decrease the need for abortions because it would decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies overall. Not to mention that over half of the women that receive abortions already have at least one child. (source)

We can argue about whether or not life begins at conception. We can argue about religious or moral reasons for not having abortions. But the fact of the matter is: abortion is necessary, whether you like it or not.

Cover Image Credit: http://clipart-library.com/clipart/8i65erMbT.htm

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