Gina Mei
March 27, 2015 3:59 pm

Self-esteem doesn’t come easily when you’re a teen. According to a national report commissioned by the Dove Self-Esteem Fund, over 70% of girls 15 to 17 will avoid participating in daily activities or going to school if they’re feeling down about their looks, and 7 out of 10 girls don’t believe they’re “good enough” in some way. Poor body image is affecting girls at a younger and younger age, and it’s a serious problem we need to address — and two teens from Rock Creek Middle School in Happy Valley, Oregon have come up with an awesome way to tackle it.

According to TODAY.com, when seventh graders Avery Burn and Genae Vanek noticed their female classmates scrutinizing themselves at school, they decided to do something by tackling the problem at its source: the mirror. Thanks to the donation of a local beauty store, Avery and Genae turned 100 compact mirrors into handheld confidence boosters — by writing sweet, handwritten messages on the insides as a reminder to the person using it that they are absolutely beautiful just the way they are.

“We came up with this idea because we saw other girls in our school with this problem with body image and what other people think of them,” Avery said to TODAY.com. “We thought if we did a project that involves people our age, it would help us and help them.”

The project, called Love My Reflection, was a huge success — and girls even started approaching the pair at school, asking for the mirrors after they’d started handing them out. Avery and Genae have already noticed a huge difference in morale, as well: according to them, their female peers seem happier and friendlier, and have even begun complimenting themselves more!

As to why the project is only targeted at young women, even though low self-esteem has been proven to affect young boys as well, it’s not nearly as big of a problem as it is for girls — something Avery noticed.

“I have brothers and they don’t really say mean things about themselves,” she said. “I think it’s mainly girls because girls are mainly the ones that care what people think about them.”

But the concept certainly still applies, and we think the project’s mission is beneficial for all gender identities. The tiny compact mirrors with the project’s sticker emblazoned on the front are the schools new “It” accessory, and for good reason (aka for the best reason ever, IMO). The mirrors serve as the perfect reminder to treat yourself kindly, and the project has even inspired Avery and Genae to practice a little more self-kindness themselves — by reciting their own positive affirmations on a regular basis.

“It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel,” Genae said to TODAY.com. And the effects of starting the project are beyond skin deep.

“This project helped boost my confidence to see that I can make a difference,” Genae continued. “It makes me feel better about myself.”

Love My Reflection turns out to have really struck a chord, because the project truly is a super empowering reminder of how beautiful and amazing all young girls are. Other schools in the area have already reached out to the girls asking if they can bring Love My Reflection to their schools, and Avery and Genae have hopes of spreading the project to even further school districts — possibly even nationally. They’ve reached out to Sephora to inquire about getting some more mirror donations, in hopes that they can get started on another batch soon — as if we needed further proof that teen girls can seriously do anything.

(Images via.)

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