A creative way to grow in self-esteem
Fervr chats to 'Esteem Designz' creator Ruth Lewis-Jones about the pressures facing young girls.
When youth leader Ruth Lewis-Jones was a teen, life at school wasn't easy. And things haven't gotten any easier for girls today.
Ruth says she felt heartbroken as she witnessed the confronting issues and ever-increasing pressures girls in her youth group faced daily. She says the modern girl is constantly receiving messages of 'perfection' through the media, and can often feel burdened by comparisons and unrealistic expectations. Ruth says some other contributors to poor self-esteem include:
- no self-indentity or confidence
- body image
- peer pressure and bullying
- feeling unloved and unvalued
According to Ruth, teenage girls struggle to just be themselves, and can be pressured into things in order to be accepted or acknowledged, thereby making their self-esteem decrease further, without a healthy emotional release.
Instead of giving up in the face of such overwhelming challenges, Ruth’s faith and passion to see girls truly know their worth motivated her to create Esteem Designz.
Studying a Bachelor of Design at the College of Fine Arts, UNSW, she knew the power of design to create change, provide direction, meaning and hope in girls’ lives. And so, she decided to use that unique creative approach to meet the needs of girls.
Ruth was determined to follow the passion God had place on her heart and create a solution so girls would be assured of their identity and better able to face those relentless struggles. She didn’t just want to help girls she knew and cared for; she wanted to affect many more. She wanted anyone to be able to empower girls and reveal the love and faithfulness of God.
Creating a sense of worth
While not containing any overt Christian messages, Ruth says that when Esteem Designz is run by Christian leaders there is “an amazing opportunity to focus the girls’ identity, value and worth in God, revealing their true identity in Christ.”
After running Esteem Designz Program, the kids' pastor of a local church said, “Through creativity, the girls were able to shine as individuals and came to recognize that their differences should be celebrated and encouraged - not to be a point of criticism or fear. It was a wonderful experience that created a great sense of worth and unity.”
Each stage of the program provides another coping strategy and an opportunity for girls to discover more about themselves, and Ruth feels blessed to hear all the great feedback she has been receiving from participants:
“Thank you for making us feel like sunshine and rainbows. You made us shine brighter than ever before.” (Year 6 class)
“I discovered more about myself and learnt to trust and believe in who I am. Through the awesome projects, I now know I can cope with anything and I learnt really helpful ways to deal with life. I also learnt that we all have a purpose and not to put others or ourselves down. I feel much more confident in myself.” (Year 8 girl)
Ruth says low self-esteem in young girls is a real issue, and believes Christians have an opportunity to really turn things around.
Looking back on her time as a teen, Ruth now says “I am forever grateful for the hardships I faced in school, which God has turned around for my good and His glory, giving me the compassion and the heart to make a difference for others. I really hope more people will join me in this revolution of empowering girls. Anyone can make a difference.”
For more information about Esteem Designz Program, check out http://www.esteemdesignz.com.au.