One woman’s simple desire to boost young girls’ confidence, has turned into a nation-wide movement called ChooseREAL.
Ruth Lewis-Jones is a church youth leader, who became deeply concerned at how much the girls in her youth group were being pressured to conform.
She saw social media and peer pressure causing a generation of young people to lack confidence in themselves, leading to self-doubt, depression and at times suicide.
With a passion to make a difference, Ruth started by founding “Esteem Designz” in 2010.
Building Self Esteem Through Creative Projects
Esteem Designz is a program helping girls to build self-esteem, identity and confidence, while working on fun creative projects in small groups.
Each girl who participates in the Esteem Designz program receives a kit of self-discovery resources and craft materials, and joins in group activities and discussions over a number of weeks. The program leads them into conversations about their worth and value, helping them to gain confidence, and deepen friendships.
How Esteem Designz Birthed The ChooseREAL Campaign
In five years the Esteem Designz program has been used in over 170 schools, community and welfare organisations across Australia, reaching more than 1300 girls so far.
And yet for Ruth, it wasn’t enough.
She had another turning-point moment, that deepened her desire to reach even more young women with affirming messages.
It was the day a young girl confessed that she was being pressured to change her hair, clothes and personality—in order to be accepted.
Today’s goal – Be YOU! Quick tip – Walk into situations with the goal to be REAL, to be YOU, instead of trying to be approved or accepted… You can’t control how others react, but can choose to be your true self… That you CAN do! So don’t try and set out to win people’s approval, but simply be real.. It can take a lot of courage (you’ve got that) and you’ll find a lot of freedom (we need more).. . So set out today with one goal – I WILL BE FOCUS ON SIMPLY BEING MYSELF! Enjoy! Share the journey with us x #choosereal #iamenough #morethanenough #justbe #esteemdesignz
Ruth was burdened by this heartbreaking discovery, and decided she needed to take her message further afield.
And so she founded the ChooseREAL campaign. The aim of her campaign is to show girls that they are “more than enough, just as they are”.
“We are not about sticking a bandaid on an open wound, but going right to the source, to the heart of the matter, to the core of girls, to transform how they see themselves and the world,” Ruth said.
What Is The ChooseREAL Message?
According to studies quoted on the ChooseREAL website, 70 percent of girls believe they don’t measure up in some way. ChooseREAL’s aim is to combat that.
Through events, resources, merchandise and social media, ChooseREAL is encouraging young women to be confident in themselves, and to let go of the need to conform.
The movement aims to build into young women qualities such as strength, resilience and gratitude, as well as teaching them to encourage, support and uplift each other.
They produce clothing, jewellery , prints and social media posts emblazoned with slogans like “More Than Enough”, “Be Brave, Be You, Be Free”, “You’ve Got This”, and “Beauty Begins The Moment You Believe In Yourself”. As for diet and body image, ChooseREAL promotes the philosophy “Nourish NOT Punish”.
How To Get Involved
ChooseREAL is encouraging young women to host their own event to promote the message of self esteem.