Beautiful inside and out

Stéphanie Alcaraz-Robinson
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West Islanders come together to empower teenage girls

A dozen teenage girls, from 12 to 18, had their hair and makeup done during an empowerment workshop held April 25 at Coiffure ColorTown in Kirkland. High school can be a tough time for teenagers – everybody has ʻstoriesʼ.

The workshop was intended as a way to reduce many negative effects of bullying – and doing this proactively, without lectures and by making the girls participate.

“We really wanted to teach them that they can be beautiful inside and out”, said Dollard des Ormeaux resident Lisa Brookman, psychotherapist and co-founder of the event. Getting a makeover seemed like a great way to do that. “If we can teach this message to women – that they are beautiful and strong – when they are twelve, imagine how they will be when they grow up.”

But a makeover wasn’t the only thing that the girls left with last Sunday – they got tips and knowledge they will be using all their life. They also got tools to help them build self-confidence and to deal with the feelings that come with body image and physical appearance.

Event organizers were Samantha Del Grosso from Coiffure ColorTown – who hatched the idea -- Brookman and Liz Wiener of Wise Women Montreal and event planners Melanie Hachey and Kaylie Morrell from Lovely & Lavish Events.

“The idea came from my friends – and some that lack self-confidence," said DelGrosso. “I’ve attended a lot of women empowerment workshops and felt that it should be done at a younger age.”

For DelGrosso, a Pierrefonds resident, it was all about showing teenage girls to embrace their inner beauty – as well as their outside beauty. She was ecstatic that her bosses were thrilled to be part of the event.

Bigger and better

Seeing the excitement and joy in the teenage girls while participating in the workshop made it obvious that it was a success. And they are not the only ones that will get a chance to participate in this event.

“We wish to go into high schools or elementary schools – Grade 6 and 7,” DelGrosso said. "There are different targets for different age groups as well. Twelve-year-olds are not the same as 18-year-olds.”

Pincourt’s Hachey thought that the age of these teenagers was a perfect time for them to learn these tools – and has the most impact on them. “Everybody’s been there, something in high school happened to everybody. All of us can easily relate to being bullying or just having a day where they just felt they didn’t know what to do, or had anywhere to turn.”

West Island love

A sense of community and love of the West Island was palpable throughout the event. Hachey said the West Island has a “small city feel,” making it easier for locals to help each other out. The event helped raise 500$ for Girls Inc., a non-profit that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold.

Organizations: Girls

Geographic location: West Island, Montreal, Pierrefonds

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