The “You Are Beautiful” initiative was a success! We were able to empower five women in recovery from substance use, by using a person- centered approach. The ” You Are Beautiful” initiative was composed of five participants and five volunteer mentors. Each participant was assigned a mentor, who had shared experiences, and was able to dedicate a mass amount of time to them individually. We utilized both one on one and group methods to empower woman while showing an immense amount of love through hugs, meditation, song, and the use of positive language.
This initiative is important because often times women who abuse substances go through trauma that ultimately affect the way they perceive themselves. This perception then takes root inside of their hearts and minds, causing them to have low self-esteem. It has been proven that low self-esteem hinders women from reaching their full potential. The constant thought of inadequacy floods their minds, this flood can also lead one to use illicit substances. With this in mind the “You Are Beautiful” initiative was formulated to counteract the negative perceptions that women have about themselves by changing their thought process and helping them to embrace the uniqueness of who they are along with their struggles and most of all their pasts.
In conducting this project several things worked well. First, assigning each participant a mentor who was trained to deliver love and care to them. This allowed the individual to have someone to talk to in private when things got intense or when they had some personal things that they did not feel comfortable with sharing with the group. One of the agreements between group participants and volunteers was that we remain anonymous. This made participants more comfortable with sharing intimate secrets with the group. Second, bringing to forefront the perceptions that they possessed about themselves and replacing them with positive empowering aspects that were counter to what they believed. This allowed women to see how beautiful and unique they were inside and out.
Some of the challenges we faced with this project included time management. The length of time in which we allocated to this project was simply not enough. This is one of the reasons for such a small group of participants. Although the experience was intimate and very heart wrenching, I believe if allocated more time to plan for location, training of volunteers, and advertising, the initiative would be able to reach a larger group of individuals and have a much greater impact.
This project overall has changed my relationship to activism for I have found myself to be a natural born activist!! It has shown me how great of an impact I can be with just an idea followed by a plan of action. My perspective about activism has remained the same but has given me hope for the future of society. I have learned that if you want to see a change you must create it!! I encourage others to partake in this wonderful cause, for we are all connected in one way or another and need the support of each other to change the world!!