Be YOUnique

The Problem

The Kaiser Foundation and Stanford University (2009) found that the average teen absorbs 10+ hours of media a day and children between the ages of 11 -14 demonstrate an increased amount of media intake. This is more than any other activity, including sleeping and school hours. Hispanics absorb 4 ½ more hours than their fellow peers; however, Latina youth hold the lowest access to technology and technology training than all their classmates. Latina youth face daunting statistics that put them in the lead for the highest rates of teen pregnancy (51%), school dropout (41%), substance abuse and threat of suicide (14%) than all their peers. The messages Latina youth receive from media teach them how to view themselves and others, but they’re not alone. According to the Dove Research: The Real truth About Beauty Revisited, 6 in 10 girls stop doing what they love because of how they feel about their looks. The solution lies in building self-confidence and providing technology and media literacy programs to youth. Body image workshops, like Be YOUnique, boost self-confidence in a girl led and driven environment by ensuring girls are better equipped to deal with personal and academic decisions.

Plan of Action

The Be YOUnique project is an on-going series of workshops taking place during the Latinitas’ preexisting after-school programs titled Club Latinitas and as stand alone body image workshops. Club Latinitas are hosted at community and recreational centers and in Housing Authorities in El Paso, Texas and surrounding regions -- totaling to 15 sites. Activities will be created and administered by the Be YOUnique Committee, a youth volunteer driven committee, and the activities will predominantly focus on body image and self-esteem thereby encouraging girls to embrace and love themselves.Be YOUnique will provide lessons that will enhance their leadership experience, become civically engaged by discovering the power of volunteerism and social activism. Through this process, the girls will be creating positive, empowering messages for their peers. Participants will work together to create a service-learning product that promotes a positive image message to distribute to their peers. The final product (a service-learning project) of the Be YOUnique workshops will provide media literacy materials for the community, upholding the Latinitas’ mission of producing content for youth by youth. All participants will receive a copy of everyone’s video, have their video uploaded to the Latinitas’ Youtube channel, and receive promotional materials to distribute to their friends about upcoming Be YOUnique workshops and events. An end of semester celebration will showcase the videos to friends and family's of those involved with the Be YOUnique project. Latinitas does not discriminate and welcomes all girls and does not turn girls away because of their ethnicity. Our programs are conducted in a format that provides a safe space to make all girls feel welcome and to help them build confidence and learn how to express themselves creatively. While several youth-oriented programs exist locally, few focus specifically on the needs of girls.

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