I remember being about ten years old and crying in a dressing room about a dress I so badly wanted. It had been a beautiful shade of hunter green with an off-the-shoulder design and a little bow in the front. We were shopping for our Christmas concert, and my mom had let me try the dress on with the understanding that we could not afford it. When I put it on, it was the most perfect dress I had ever worn. I begged and pleaded with my mother, offering to do chores for months. It was useless. We didn’t have the money. My mother forced me to settle on a plain black dress that was on clearance. I went home brokenhearted. On the day of the concert, I remember feeling uncomfortable and almost embarrassed by the simpleness of my dress compared to the other little girls in vibrant reds and brightly colored, festive dresses.
We are all told, it is what is on the inside that counts, but that doesn’t mean we don’t still feel the need to dress nicely. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to wear clothes that make us feel beautiful and confident. Our clothes are the first impression we give to the world, and there is nothing wrong with wanting to wear nice clothes. With youth today, the competitiveness has only increased and social media has made it even harder on girls. They compare themselves to other classmates, celebrities and anyone else that crosses their path. When they cannot afford to dress like their peers, it can make them feel inadequate. It leads to a vicious cycle of self-consciousness that which may even hold them back in academics.
One organization is working to help bridge the gap from confidence to school performance in effort to empower young girls. The Believe in Yourself Project has launched an initiative to provide brand new designer dresses for underprivileged girls to wear at their school functions. In an environment that can be very competitive and often impossible to keep up with everyday standards, Believe in Yourself is providing girls with the clothes to give them confidence to feel good about themselves. However, this initiative is so much more than just clothes. This project is also providing mentor programs that will give these girls guidance and promote a healthy body image. It will also have female speakers talk to the girls in the program in efforts to offer encouragement and support they may be struggling to find elsewhere.
Sam Sisakhti is the brains behind the project and the founder of the site UsTrendy, which sells a variety of apparel for women and girls including formal dresses. Working in the fashion industry, he saw firsthand the social pressures young women faced to be physically perfect and wear only the best new clothes. It can be overwhelming and isolating dealing with those kinds of everyday pressures. When you add to it the enormous amount of cyber bullying, girls face a mountain of social obstacles which can be damaging to their self esteem and academically discouraging. Sam’s response to this was the Believe in Yourself Project to let young women put their best self out there and learn to be confident with the guidance of mentors. That confidence can extend to all areas of their lives and give them the support they need to excel.
In efforts to help this initiative, you can offer a donation or even sign up as a mentor. Visit the Believe in Yourself Project today to see how you can make a difference.