Thursday, October 10, 2013

Giving Girls Living In The NYC Shelter System A Taste of Love, Positive Psychology, Nutritional Advice and Juice Press.

For the past year I've totally enjoyed holding workshops for mothers living in the NYC shelter system.  Recently I changed my focus to their children, ranging in ages 7 to 17.  My goal is to hold monthly workshops around topics such as healthy eating, hair/skincare and most importantly, inner beauty.

I started my most recent workshop for teenage girls around a question suggested to me by my friend Syd Rubin (who studied Positive Psychology). "What was the thing they most enjoyed about their day?"    

They all smiled right away. Their answers varied from hanging with friends after school to drama class. It allowed them to focus on something that made them feel comfortable, making it about them, not me. This question also set the tone for the workshop for me, keeping it positive even when talking about difficult topics. It's an approach I will use to begin all my workshops from now on. Thanks Syd Rubin!

I then took it one step further. I asked what each person liked most about themselves; it could be anything from their smile, to their hair, to their personality. 

Their responses were more slow this time. The fact that it was difficult for the girls to answer, due to a lack of self-appreciation, I believe is a huge problem. I prompted the girls to think about their lips, hair, eyes, walk, humor... The girls quickly jumped on the wagon and opened up. One girl said her skin color, another her hands and her personality. I encouraged them to look at themselves in the mirror and see what I see.

I shared my own personal experience of being told as a child that my nose was big. I was skinny and feminine. These words stayed with me for almost 30 years and I believed them. Today I know it's not true, that I was (and am) beautiful just as I am.

Today with so-called "self help" shows like Fashion Police, sporting a panel of individuals ridiculing celebrities in expensive dresses who look perfect, what's left for girls who only dream of these life styles?

Why is it the major networks can't create a show based solely on sending a direct, supportive message to our young women, which celebrates who they are? Why can't celebrities do TV ads that encourage girls (and women) to believe in themselves, no matter what they look like or what they wear?

On a lighter note I brought in nutritionist Dorothy Holtermann, who works for Path For Life and the Acupuncture Center in Staten Island. Dorothy shared tons of valuable information on how water, fruits and vegetables can help you sleep and feel energetic and enjoy healthy skin and hair. The girls loved it! Dorothy will definitely be my guest speaker from now on. Her website will be up and running on November 1st so please check it out.

And as an added treat, Juice Press gave every girl a delicious fresh apple or pear juice. Thank you Juice Press for your love! I will continue supporting those who support those in need.

Until then, lets give these girls the emotional support they need by providing basic gifts to them to get through their day. 

If you have any questions on how you can help girls in your area, please feel free to write me.

Together lets give hope, love and joy to our young women living in homeless shelters!!


Sydney Rubin said...

Wow! It is so great to hear the opener was a success! It sounds like the whole session went well. Thanks for sharing with us :)

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