When Donald Trump's words scared this Muslim girl, these Army vets responded perfectly.

When Melissa Chance Yassini came home from work on Dec. 8, she found her daughter Sofia in tears.

Melissa Chance Yassini and her daughter Sofia. Photo by Melissa Chance Yassini/Facebook. Used with permission.

Sofia had been watching the news with her grandmother, when she heard about Donald Trump's call to deport refugees and ban Muslims from entering America.

"She ran to me with a look of absolute fear on her face," Melissa told Upworthy.
Sofia, who is 8 years old, was convinced that Trump wanted to kick her and her family, who are Muslim — and American citizens — out of the country.
"It was the first time that it really drove home to me that we’re in a dangerous place right now," Melissa said.

Melissa stayed up most of the night comforting and reassuring her daughter. Exhausted and frustrated, she posted about the experience on Facebook the next day.

The post caught the eye of Kerri Peek, an Army veteran from Colorado, who responded to Melissa a few days later.

"Salamalakum Melissa!" Peek wrote on Facebook. "Please show this picture of me to your daughter. Tell her I am a Mama too and as a soldier I will protect her from the bad guys."

Photo by Kerri Peek/Facebook. Used with permission.


Peek — who is Hispanic — told Upworthy that her heart broke reading Melissa's post, which reminded her of similar statements that have made her own family feel unwelcome.

"It bothered me all night. Stuck in my craw, so to speak," Peek said. "This rhetoric and fear, hate, and violence is not okay. It's not the United States that I would fight for. I was awake all night."

Peek started a hashtag — #IWillProtectYou — and encouraged her fellow vets to respond. The messages of support began pouring in.

"Calling all vets. I've been reading reports of kids being harassed and accosted because of their faith. This is UNAMERICAN. Now is the time to act," veteran Andres Herrera wrote on Facebook.

Andres Herrera. Used with permission.

"Let Muslim children know that we will not hurt them. That they are safe here in America. That we will protect innocents as we always have and by added benefit keeping our oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution," Herrera added.

"I am not Muslim," veteran David Bruce wrote on Facebook, "But when anyone says the Army that I served with will go on to remove Muslims from my country, they'll have to take me too."

Photo by David Bruce/Facebook. Used with permission (on the contingency that I mention Bruce said, "I thought photo filters would hide how messed up my gear looks. They didn't. Oh well.”)

"Sweet girl, I am no longer in the Navy, but know you are protected," veteran Sarah Cullen wrote. "‪#‎IWillProtectYou‬ to the moon and back if necessary. Many hugs sent your way."

Photo by Sarah Cullen/Facebook. Used with permission.

"We are Muslim, an Army family, and we will protect you," Aneesah Hydar wrote on Facebook.

Photo by Aneesah Hydar/Facebook. Used with permission.

As the responses continue to come in, Peek remains blown away — but not surprised — by her fellow vets' willingness to stand up to bigotry.

"I have always been proud of my Battle Buddies (we are all comrades-at-arms)," Peek said. "But this is outstanding."

Melissa told Upworthy she is incredibly moved by the show of support for her daughter.

"I have probably received close to 500 messages from various people in our military, from just people," Melissa said.
"Christians, atheists, Jews, every walk of life, every stage, have reached out to Sofia and I with overwhelming support and love."

Most importantly, Sofia now knows there’s an army of her fellow Americans who have her back.

Peek's message came through loud and clear: No matter what Donald Trump says that makes Muslim-Americans feel unsafe and unwanted, there are men and women in America's armed forces who won't stand for it.
"I read each and every message to her," Melissa said. "And she now understands that we’re all part of a fabric which is America."
Courtesy of Verizon
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If someone were to say "video games" to you, what are the first words that come to mind? Whatever words you thought of (fun, exciting, etc.), we're willing to guess "healthy" or "mental health tool" didn't pop into your mind.

And yet… it turns out they are. Especially for Veterans.

How? Well, for one thing, video games — and virtual reality more generally — are also more accessible and less stigmatized to veterans than mental health treatment. In fact, some psychiatrists are using virtual reality systems for this reason to treat PTSD.

Secondly, video games allow people to socialize in new ways with people who share common interests and goals. And for Veterans, many of whom leave the military feeling isolated or lonely after they lose the daily camaraderie of their regiment, that socialization is critical to their mental health. It gives them a virtual group of friends to talk with, connect to, and relate to through shared goals and interests.

In addition, according to a 2018 study, since many video games simulate real-life situations they encountered during their service, it makes socialization easier since they can relate to and find common ground with other gamers while playing.

This can help ease symptoms of depression, anxiety, and even PTSD in Veterans, which affects 20% of the Veterans who have served since 9/11.

Watch here as Verizon dives into the stories of three Veteran gamers to learn how video games helped them build community, deal with trauma and have some fun.

Band of Gamers www.youtube.com

Video games have been especially beneficial to Veterans since the beginning of the pandemic when all of us — Veterans included — have been even more isolated than ever before.

And that's why Verizon launched a challenge last year, which saw $30,000 donated to four military charities.

And this year, they're going even bigger by launching a new World of Warships charity tournament in partnership with Wargaming and Wounded Warrior Project called "Verizon Warrior Series." During the tournament, gamers will be able to interact with the game's iconic ships in new and exciting ways, all while giving back.

Together with these nonprofits, the tournament will welcome teams all across the nation in order to raise money for military charities helping Veterans in need. There will be a $100,000 prize pool donated to these charities, as well as donation drives for injured Veterans at every match during the tournament to raise extra funds.

Verizon is also providing special discounts to Those Who Serve communities, including military and first responders, and they're offering a $75 in-game content military promo for World of Warships.

Tournament finals are scheduled for August 8, so be sure to tune in to the tournament and donate if you can in order to give back to Veterans in need.

Courtesy of Verizon

Welp, the two skateboarding events added to the Olympics this year have wrapped up for the women's teams, and the results are historic in more ways than one.

Japan's Kokona Hiraki, age 12, just won the silver medal in women's park skateboarding, making her Japan's youngest Olympic medalist ever. Great Britain's Sky Brown, who was 12 when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics and is now 13, won the bronze, making her Great Britain's youngest medalist ever. And those two medal wins mean that two-thirds of the six medalists in the two women's skateboarding events are age 13 or younger. (The gold and silver medalists in women's street skateboarding, Japan's Momiji Nishiya and Brazil's Rayssa Leal, are also 13.)

That's mind-blowing.

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