The Second Story Women’s Centre provides services and education to help improve the lives of girls and women in both Lunenburg and Queens County. Community relations coordinator Joanne Jefferson and Centre volunteer Faye Gosnell paid a visit to the Liverpool Priva-cheers Thursday, March 3 at the Liverpool Lions Club, and helped the girls better understand the concept of self-esteem.
“We were helping them try and define it,” says Gosnell. “Helping them figure out what their beliefs were about themselves, and helping them to realize their beliefs affect their behaviour and what they get out of life.”
In groups, the girls brainstormed what they thought self-esteem was and wrote their definitions down on a large piece of paper. They then shared what they came up with, and discussed what their answers meant.
After the first exercise the girls split into two separate groups according to their age. Gosnell ran the older group, and did exercises to find out how the girls see themselves.
“We talked about how to change self concept to what you want it to look like, if it needs to be changed, and how to make those changes if you want to move in that direction,” says Gosnell. “Just helping them define what their self-confidence is like.”
The younger group participated in something a little simpler, comparing self-esteem to a flower. “A flower needs strong roots and a strong stem in order to see their beautiful petals,” says Jefferson. It needs to be protected, loved, watered and fed.
“I think the idea was that self-esteem isn't something that just comes in a box, you have to grow it yourself,” says Jefferson. “It's a process.”
Both Jefferson and Gosnell say this is an age group that is vulnerable to criticism, especially for girls. The concept girls develop about themselves has an impact on the direction they will take in life.
“Every time they build a strength, their self-esteem will grow stronger,” says Jefferson. “Every time they have something negative in their life, they need to be able to rely on those strengths to stay true to who they are.”
Gosnell adds it is important to have them go in a healthy direction and make healthy choices. “At this age group their self-esteem is really closely tied to body image, so you have to address that.”
“You can't be confident without knowing what confidence is, so you have to talk about it and define it, before you can decide how to get there.” - Joanne Jefferson, Second Story Women’s Centre community relations coordinator
“I would like to see them develop an appreciation that their beliefs about themselves influence their behaviour,” says Gosnell. “If they can identify their beliefs, then they can change their behaviour for the better.”
Jefferson says she thinks the program with the Priva-Cheers went well, and the girls really seemed to enjoy themselves. She adds the idea of self-esteem is something you can actually improve on, and something you can control and make stronger when you know how.
“I hope it gave them something to think about and bring home with them,” says Jefferson. “You can't be confident without knowing what confidence is, so you have to talk about it and define it before you can decide how to get there.”
The Second Story Women’s Centre offers a variety of services to girls and women from various programs and workshops, to support groups and crises intervention. For more information call 902-640-3044 or visit www.secstory.com