I’m Jen and I’m starting to work alongside Hannah on this awesome new project, Flourish. So, I thought I would write up a little bit about why I am excited to be a part of the work that the Flourish Project is starting in Hinckley!
Before I became a ‘stay at home Mum’, my previous job was in mentoring. I worked across the secondary schools in Coventry, I created and ran sessions with groups of school students from Years 7 – 13. I worked mainly on academic goals and looked at their future aspirations, discussing how they might be able to realise dreams that they maybe thought were out of their reach and helped them to see that there were achievable paths towards these ideas.
As I previously mentioned, at the minute I am a stay at home mum, I have a daughter and 2 sons in Bedworth. I stopped working after my daughter was born to spend time at home with her growing up and during my time off work I have been volunteering at a local youth group. It is in this youth group that I feel I have had my eyes opened, sort of a series of ‘woah’ moments, in seeing all of the new trials that girls and boys are facing whilst growing up. I’d realised that social media, magazines and newspapers were having an effect on me and my mindset, (something I think most of us are battling against on a daily basis) but to tie that in with making it through school…I cant begin to imagine how hard that must feel. All of us will remember how hard school is, you’re figuring out who you are, trying to make the right friends and trying to figure out what to do with your life….it was hard enough to live down a bad hair day in the 90s, but in the age of Facebook, Snapchat and cyber bullying, where everything is so instant, young people often don’t have time to reflect on what they are about to put out into the world, things that can never be taken back. Growing up in today’s instant, image conscious environment, things have taken a much harder twist.
I can’t imagine the amount of added pressure kids feel today with social technology. So what can we do about this? How do we equip this generation to deal with these situations? This is why I am so passionate about the Flourish Project! The work that Hannah is already achieving within our local schools is fantastic. At the minute through this project, girls are being equipped with tools so that they can start to realise how unique and individual they are and that that is something to be celebrated! They are starting to actually believe that they have talents, that their dreams are a reality and that the images that the world gives us of the perfect woman is utter rubbish. Giving girls a space to explore who they are truly meant to be, time to grow in self confidence and giving them tools to be able to distinguish the lies that have been said over them and replace them with great truths about themselves is so incredibly powerful.
In line with my previous mentoring role, the Flourish Project also helps young people to realise their aspirations. Within the sessions run in school, young people involved will get the chance to set goals to help them to succeed in not only emotional development, but within their educational development as well. Within the program we are hoping to bring about a real awareness of all of the choices that can be made throughout their lives, so that on the whole they are able to move forward making healthy lifestyle choices for themselves and feeling confident in those decisions.
I am so excited to start working alongside Hannah with some awesome young ladies, and am looking forward to the future where more schools can be reached and a program for boys can start too!!