Junior High is a tough time in most kids lives. It is often full of name calling, backstabbing and in general most teenagers long to be part of the in-crowd. It is at this age that we rarely look at being different as an attribute, it instead is seen as something to be ashamed of and is ridiculed by many. It is safe to say that for a lot of people, junior high sucks. Sorry, but it is true. That is why the story I recently found on Yahoo was all the more refreshing to see.
A couple of girls from Portland, Oregon (yeah for the hometown team) named Avery Burn and Genae Vanek came up with a great way to engage their fellow students in something positive. The girls are involved in a great organization called "Destination Imagination". "DI" is an organziation that is helps kids learn in new and diverse ways by pushing them to through creativity. Their site describes it this way:
For Avery Burn and Genae Vanek they saw a need in their own backyard. They saw how much girls their age struggled with self esteem. Rather than sitting around, they decided to do something about it.The project was simple really, provide pocket mirrors to the girls in their school with affirmations written on them.
Some may laugh at this concept, Current research out of Carnegie Mellon University suggests that "positive affirmations" can increase a persons esteem and make them perform better.
They used stress as a starting point to determine how people performed when under high levels of chronic stress. They found that people under this level of stress actually correctly answered 50% less problems during the experiment. "But notably, this effect was qualified by whether the participants had an opportunity to first complete the self-affirmation activity?
These girls probably didn't know all of this before starting their project, but what they did was afford their fellow students a positive way of looking at things that actually could improve how they do at school which of course then leads to feeling even better about oneself. So creates a cycle of positive reinforcement leading to positive results. Why am I telling you about this? Simple, I believe in spreading positive content. I believe in lifting up others. I believe in taking action. That is what these girls did and it's pretty fantastic.
But they aren't done. They turned this into a project called "Love My Reflection" and they want to go nationwide with their message, not just providing these mirrors to more girls but also hosting events and groups that can continue to provide a positive space for these middle school aged girls. It is important to know that during middle school a girl's confidence often plummets and we generally start see a change in in academic performance as well. The change of schools, hormones, social media and other factors come in to play. That is why this is so important. This is the time we need to support and affirm our girls.
They have a "GOFUNDME" page to raise money for the cause, http://www.gofundme.com/lovemyreflection I donated just last night and got a personal response from Avery's mother, Annie. I told them I wanted to help in any way I can so the first step in that is spreading the word. Check out what Annie wrote to me below
Let's help these girls help hundreds, even thousands more to be confident. You can even check out their website. www.lovemyreflection.org
To learn more about Destination Imagination, click on the logo.