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Shira Blumenthal, 31
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Tolerance36 Under 36 2020

Shira Blumenthal, 31

Hats, Not Hate

What you do:

I am the brand ambassador for the Lion Brand Yarn company, where I travel around the world giving sales presentations and speaking to groups of knitters and crocheters about Lion Brand Yarn. I am also the host of a web series on our YouTube channel (which has almost 90,000 subscribers) called Tea With Shira, which is entering its sixth season.

No show goes without mentioning Hat Not Hate, an anti-bullying campaign that I founded in 2018. Through several social media platforms, I ask knitters and crocheters around the world to make blue hats; they send these hats to Hats Not Hate to be distributed to different schools across the country for an anti-bullying program in October, National Bullying Prevention Month. Students are told that these hats were made by crafters around the world and are to be worn as a sign of solidarity against bullying. For 2020, my goal is to collect 100,000 blue hats.

Unexpected fun fact:

I have had sparkling tinsel in my hair for the past year and a half.

Quote you live by:

“There are no such things as mistakes, only lessons to be learned.”

Formative childhood moment:

When I was in fourth grade, I was horribly bullied to the point where I ultimately had to switch schools. At the time I remember asking “Why me,” while crying in my mother’s arms. Looking back, I realize I was given lemons, and at the time I didn’t know what to do with them. However, now with my anti-bullying campaign, Hat Not Hate, I always say to kids that the lemons I was given when I was 9 were used to make amazing blue lemonade 20-plus years later.

Challenges overcome:

In the first year of my anti-bullying campaign I had a goal of 1,500 blue hats. I was communicating the message via Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. My father said to me, “I will be impressed if you receive 200 hats.” I remember I looked at him straight in the eye and said, “Watch me.” That taught me to never doubt my own power. I received 2,600 hats that year.

FOLLOW ME: @shiraroars, Hatnothate.org, lionbrand.com

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