buy a scarf, educate a girl
Tell us About it:
Each year Rewrite Beautiful creatively changes how over 1,000 students between the ages of 12 and 25 see beauty in themselves. Our programs include a 60 minute creative assembly in which we educate on the harms of eating disorders and teach students how to be a positive role model for the next generation of kids. After the assembly students say that that they now know the signs to look for before an eating disorder gets out of hand, they feel more confident approaching a friend who is struggling with an eating disorder and distinguish themselves as role models and leaders. As well, we guide students to put our mission into practice through student led Beautiful Action clubs on high school and college campuses. Rewrite Beautiful programs teach students how to erase the stigma around eating disorders and mental illness, to think critically about their community and builds leaders. If I do say so myself, it’s epic!
What inspired you to start the program?:
Well, I was working three jobs, as a nanny, art teacher and support counselor in an eating disorder rehab. I soon realized that all the girls and women I came into contact with had one thing in common; they were all jeopardizing their lives to make themselves “beautiful”. The art students were experimenting with eating disorders while the rehab clients were dying from them. I worried that the baby I nannied, would one day grow up and be welcomed into this cycle. So one night while I was putting the baby to sleep I prayed that she would be protected from having an eating disorder. Then I immediately heard a voice say, “Well what would have prevented you from having an eating disorder?” My answer was,“Prevention and art.” For so long I was in the dark about my eating disorder because no one ever talked to me about it. I had no idea that what I was doing wasn’t normal or could kill me. Eight years into my disorder, I finally did hear someone share their story with me face to face, that’s when I could finally identify and what led me to recovery. At the time, I knew that talking about eating disorders was key, but that it had to also be inspiring and fun the way art is. From there I got the idea to develop a program that went into schools.
Who/What helped prepare you to start?:
Who didn’t help me is a better question ;) My local community has been so generous sharing their resources with me. I sought out non-profit executives and asked them to coffee where they shared their great advice and experience. Another non-profit connected me to a local law firm that donated their services to get our 501c3 filed. My friends who worked with students let me come in and do beta testing in their classrooms. A church granted me start up funds and even some of the women in the rehab I worked at donated money because they knew the value in prevention.
Who/What has been most influential in supporting you?:
There are countless volunteers and board members who have supported me from the very beginning and without them I couldn’t physically run Rewrite Beautiful. However, the thing that keeps me showing up and speaking to students is the continuous emails, letters and people I meet who have heard me speak during a school program and because of it, they recognized their own eating disorder. Knowing that the program is truly impacting lives and getting to hear how lives have changed and completely shifted course has been the biggest support to keep going even when it’s frustrating and hard.
How can others get involved?:
So many ways! You can
a.) Host a fundraiser in order to bring a Rewrite Beautiful school program to your area.
b.) Start a Beautiful Action club at a high school or college.
c.) Make a donation directly to Rewrite Beautiful in order to continue changing how students see beauty into actions of creativity, kindness and strength.
If you had one word of advice for other girls wanting to get involved and make a difference what would you say?
I would say that Howard Thurman said it best, "Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”