I received AuthenticME’s Elements for Girls: A Fun and Engaging Self Discovery Project in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own.
Life has changed dramatically since I was a preteen. I don’t even think they used that word back then. One generation and we’ve gone from being curled up in a bedroom, reading a book, listening to the radio and talking on the phone to a life where everything is literally in the palm of their hand. It’s become a digital world.
Perhaps we’ve lost site of “intentional”, the ability to be real rather than virtual. I remember being quietly introspective. I want my daughters to hear their authentic voice and cultivate an authentic self. Miss M caught a glimpse of this when I took her to meet Maya Angelou. I want that spark that was started then, to ignite into a fire of self-worth.
Turn off the electronics and tune into what makes them tick.
AuthenticME, a company created by two women who have dedicated their careers to helping adolescent girls, is aimed specifically for this purpose. The company’s mission is to develop products that will encourage girls to explore, embrace and empower all aspects of their authentic selves.
The company’s new book, “ELEMENTS for Girls A Fun & Engaging Self Discovery Project,” provides a way for girls to slow down, disconnect from technology and connect with their authentic self,” said Sandra McDonnell, AuthenticME partner.
Each of the book’s 10 chapters invites girls to read, reflect, create and complete interesting and introspective activities while exploring themes such as feelings, self-acceptance, empathy, decision making and communications. The theme of self-care is woven throughout the book in sections on sleep, healthy eating and stress management.
Integral to the concept is a bracelet that girls create as they work their way through the book. “The beads are a fun, visual reminder of what is learned in the book,” according to Mary Ellen Young, AuthenticME partner and founder of Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence (HGNA), a Downers Grove, IL based non-profit organization that provides a variety of supportive programs for girls and parents. “It takes time and practice to develop healthy, positive habits and skills,” said Young.
The section on empathy allows girls to work through real-life examples of how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. “Developing empathy is a critical skill in reducing bullying and building healthy relationships,” according to Young, a bullying consultant and speaker on relational aggression. “A cute flip flop is the bracelet charm for this section, and serves as a reminder for the girls to put themselves in each other’s shoes. It is our goal to create a reminder for our girls so that when the temptation is there to throw out their arm and save a seat, instead they will look at their wrist, think about what it feels like to be that girl standing there, and make room.”
Many girls had a hand in development of the concept for the book and bracelet project. Focus groups were held with local girls who subsequently completed two sample chapters at home. “Their insight was key. We were motivated by how much they loved the concept,” said McDonnell.
“Girls benefit greatly from opportunities for personal reflection and self-awareness,” says McDonnell who is also the current HGNA president. The project was a creative family affair with Young and McDonnell’s three high school- and college-aged daughters playing key roles. Sierra Young, a talented artist, created all the original doodle art, Nora Young inserted her keen sense of style into the book and bracelet designs, and Emma McDonnell researched and selected “the coolest beads” she could find.