Anna Craig, 11, has a paper doll covered with stickers. Each sticker is labeled with an adjective such as creative, cheerful, smart or kind. “We choose stickers that best describe us and put them on our dolls,” explains Anna, who did the activity with a group of fourth-grade girls last year. “All these words are what makes me beautiful!”
The activity is part of a program called Beautiful Me. The Hance Family Foundation, which was created to honor three sisters killed in a car accident, offers the program for free to schools and community groups. The program’s goals are to help girls and young women build healthy levels of self-esteem and develop skills for handling problems and relationships with others. Beautiful Me defines self-esteem as how you feel about yourself and what you think your value is as a person.
“Girls of all ages benefit from recognizing what makes each of us valuable and unique,” says Kate Tuffy, who helped create Beautiful Me. “Our goal is to offer the program to as many girls as possible across the United States.” So far, about 6,000 girls, in the New York City area; Chicago, Illinois; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, have benefited from it. Interested schools and groups can contact the foundation to bring the program to their area.
How It Works
Beautiful Me organizers train teachers to present the program material to small groups of girls. The sessions include hands-on art activities, role-playing games about understanding body language and discussions on topics like building friendships. Schools and groups present the program when they are ready.
Beautiful Me creators say the program helps girls understand their feelings, solve problems and get along better in and out of school. “Girls and women who have built healthy levels of self-esteem are more likely to be better friends to others, to know how to solve conflicts effectively and how to set limits and boundaries,” says Tuffy.
Anna says she learned all of that from the program. But most importantly, she learned to appreciate the special qualities
in people and that it’s important to feel good about yourself. “When you feel good about yourself,” Anna told TFK, “it is easy to make others feel good too!”