Girls get self-esteem boost
SUPPORT GROUP ENJOYS OUTING TO SHOPPERS
Thursday, Mar 16, 2017 06:00 am
It is not often high school students go on an off-campus trip for a day of pampering but that is exactly what happened last Friday.
“We promote social, emotional and physical wellness for the girls – and when you feel good on the outside, you feel good on the inside,” said Michelle Nychuk, the centre’s counsellor and co-facilitator.
Five girls from the “Girls Group” – a partnership between Alberta Health Services and Rocky View Schools (RVS) created to give teenage girls in Cochrane a self-esteem boost – were taken to Shoppers Drug Mart for a morning of makeovers and a question and answer with the pharmacist.
“I joined because I was hoping the group would push me out of my comfort zone and help bring up my self-esteem – now it’s the only thing that keeps me sane,” Emily Sawatzky, 17, said with a laugh.
Initiated approximately a month ago, the Girls Group was introduced to the RVS Community Learning Centre in Cochrane after it was determined the support would be beneficial for the young ladies.
“We want to help girls build their self-esteem – there was an identified need and we wanted to create something to help with prevention and promotion,” said Nychuk.
“Students were requesting extra supports and we wanted to help develop young ladies’ confidence and self-esteem.”
While typical meetings are held on campus where the young ladies can hangout, eat snacks, drink tea and talk mental health – the most recent group meeting had the girls sitting in chairs as beauty technician experts applied blush, eyeliner and lipstick while giving makeup tips and skincare advice.
Some girls requested advice on how to avoid dry skin, others quizzed the pharmacist on what vitamins to take. One of the young ladies was also overheard asking for funky-coloured eyebrows.
First-timer Hannah Johnsen, 15, was in the middle of getting black-winged eyeliner when she explained what drew her to check out the Girls Group.
“I thought it would be interesting to learn about health and self-positive things,” Johnsen said.
While the members of the group all had different reasons for joining, the majority of young ladies admitted to suffering from social anxiety and agreed the weekly meetings helped boost their self-esteem.
“I joined to meet more people and have fun experiences,” said Meghan Campbell, 18. “It’s fun. All the girls are really nice and we can talk about things we don’t get to talk about with anyone else.”
The group is free and available to students at the Community Learning Centre in Cochrane. The centre serves as an alternative education site for students aged 14 to 19 years old, who are enrolled in Grade 7 to Grade 12 and are “unable to attend or benefit from a traditional school program.”
“It is a safe space to hang out and talk about things you normally can’t talk about with other people,” said Sawatzky.
“The group is beneficial and it helps me – I look forward to it every week.”
All of the members interviewed said they would recommend the weekly Friday meetings to other girls.
“Sometimes the youth suffer from anxiety but with this group we are able to help them make that connection to the community,” explained Chantal Leroux, group co-facilitator and AHS worker.
For more information on the program and other youth resources in the community provided by Alberta Health Services, contact organizers at 1-877-652-4700.