Guest Contributor and Volunteer: Bethany Consoliver
Having (at one point) been a young girl myself, I have dealt with the insecurities and troubled thoughts that many (if not all) of us have come across in our early years. Unfortunately, I have let those insecurities carry out into my adult life. Which, can I just say, is so easy for us to do! And it’s even harder to change such a mindset as the years go on! Realizing our self-worth can be incredibly difficult; and I honestly never saw its true importance growing up.
But…**drumroll**… I am so happy to share…that there is an AWESOME program that inspires such inner-respect! Shimmer Sparkle Shine is a program that focuses on young girls recognizing their self-worth and unique qualities that make them who they are. Also, this program instructs these young girls in ways that they can deal with particular and individual hardships that go along with growing up. Adversity will face us, and from many different directions at that—self-doubt will always be on the attack. But who we are and how we view ourselves can make all the difference when facing these discouragements.
I met Ciara (founder of SSS) in my winter semester at college of 2014—we began our friendship as roommates. It wasn’t long until I heard more about her passion and non-profit SSS, which is how I got involved in volunteering for their workshops. Honestly, when I heard about SSS, I didn’t think much of it. It wasn’t until I attended an actual workshop that I realized the importance and necessity of SSS’s purpose and mission. At a workshop, there are five different stations that represent the five keys of SSS which are: Personality, Good Friends vs. Bad Friends, Make Your Mark, Comfort in Your Own Skin, and Healthy Living. Volunteers are needed at these workshops to help guide and present these five keys. As a volunteer, I have had the privilege to learn so much from these young girls.
Everyone is different—we have various and separate talents that are particular to us as individuals. Volunteering at these workshops has only exemplified this! My favorite part of these workshops is near the end—hearing the girls say more confidently what they love about themselves in comparison to the beginning of the workshop and their slight reluctance in answering. The first time I went to a workshop, I realized how hard it was to say what I loved about myself. I was one among the young girls, who needed to be at that workshop to recognize the necessity of our self-worth and individuality. I truly believe that volunteers learn just as much as those attending.
Sadly, I forget the where of this particular workshop. But I remember the certain young person who really surprised me! She showed up wearing her wolf shirt, sporting her spunky attitude, and had no shame in declaring her, as the majority of people might call, geeky interests. What I was surprised with, was her confidence. Why was someone who seemed so confident here at this work shop? And as the rest of the workshop developed—I realized my error in assuming that. She had insecurities, concerns, and confidence issues that she had and still fights every day, like all of us! I was reminded of the term, a round character, “A round character is a term coined by E.M. Forster and is the direct opposite of a flat character. A round character is extremely realistic, behaving and speaking in a "real life" manner. The character is complex and increases in complexity throughout the story.”
We should treat ourselves and everyone as the round character we all are. As individuals, we’re learning about ourselves constantly—it’s an ongoing journey. Recognizing this, especially in our younger years is so important! As volunteers, if we can help encourage this mentality and thought process for our youths, maybe we can plant the seeds of self-worth and the beauty of individuality that can be carried throughout the years—that can solidify and grow the older they get.
I have been so grateful for meeting Ciara and for having her get me involved in SSS. She has inspired me and helped encourage positive thoughts and the concept of self-worth that I had struggled with when I was younger, and her program continues to do so for young girls and other volunteers. I highly recommend to anyone and everyone that if they can take part, get involved, and volunteer for Shimmer Sparkle Shine.