Dove Self-Esteem #GirlsUnstoppable Project

To honor Domestic Violence Awareness month, I was part of the Dove self-esteem project and met with students from the Boys and Girls Club program at Wells Academy in Chicago.

To support positive self-esteem and help make #GirlsUnstoppable, they asked me to talk about having a belief in yourself. From an early age, I discovered the role sports and setting goals positively played with my confidence. Still, there were those who would try to knock me down or wanted to see me fall. It seems to happen to every student at some point. So, I took a step back in time (a big step) and I tried to put myself in their shoes. How did I feel when I was their vulnerable age and what advice do I wish I could have given myself then? Oh, where to begin?!

I began by taking off my fake eyelashes, make-up and taking out clip-in hair extensions as a way to help explain reality. Given photo shopped magazines and “reality,” shows, it’s hard to not compare yourself to what really doesn’t exist. It’s a set-up to never feel you can measure up. None of us are perfect and we all have issues, some more than others;)

Here I am with some of bright young women. They were incredibly sweet.

Then I spoke about Court Appointed Special Advocates. As CASA volunteers, we handle the fallout of children who have many times lived with domestic violence in their homes which SHOULD be safe havens. We know a positive self-esteem can help someone avoid controlling and/or violent relationships or help them get out of one. There was so much guidance I wanted to give to these bright students, as I want so much for each of them. And so I pass along just some of it to you:

*If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who makes you feel bad, have the courage to leave it behind. They don’t deserve your time and attention.
*Abuse is not love. They may say things or do things that make you feel powerless. Apologizing doesn’t make it okay either. There is no excuse.
*No one should call you stupid, worthless or other demeaning names…not a parent, not a girlfriend or boyfriend. No one should belittle you.
*No one has the right to violate your personal space, to touch you in places or ways that make you uncomfortable.
*If someone has or does subject you to sexual abuse, tell them no. Tell an adult or someone you trust about what has taken place…you can even get a hold of me! It’s not right, it’s not your fault and it needs to stop.
*If someone is bullying you, please talk to a teacher, a parent, a family member or reach out to me. It’s not right. It does not need to continue.

We then discussed the crucial differences between good supportive relationships and those “other,” relationships where someone wants you to be part of their misery party. These bad relationships may not be abuse, but you shouldn’t waste any more time with those who will not help your reach your goals and celebrate with you when you do. But that goes both ways!

Thank you Wells Academy for having me!

This is serious, even if it was a fun night. These are young women who are smart and can conquer their dreams IF they stay true to themselves. We need these young women to do just that! A healthy self-esteem is integral. I firmly believe if someone knows just how valuable they are, it will be easier to focus on what is right for them.

Be the Change!

Amy Gregorio
Your Mrs. International


Popular Posts