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Church program seeks to help girls combat low self-esteem

POSTED: February 15, 2009 12:03 a.m.

HOSCHTON — Peer pressure to look and act a certain way can make middle and high school a tough time for girls. Sometimes this pressure even causes them to suffer from low self-esteem and other identity crises.

To help change this, New Community Church has scheduled an event centered on the idea that true beauty comes from within.

The inaugural “Inside-Out Girls Weekend” will be held Feb. 27-28 at New Community and is free to all middle and high school girls. The weekend starts at 5:30 p.m. Friday and ends at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Keith Trollinger, student pastor at New Community Church, said he has noticed one common factor in mentoring middle and high school girls.

“One of the things that is pretty obvious (is) that girls ... have a hard time feeling love based on what they are on the inside,” he said. “The outside reflects how they get treated.”

Now Trollinger and two other church members, Kelly Therieau and Jenna Monforte, have spent the last three months transforming Girls Weekend from an idea into a reality.

Activities will include small-group discussions, manicures, pedicures, beauty makeovers, prize giveaways, a movie and dance party, a performance by a band from 12Stone Church and dinner provided by Anthony’s New York Pizza and Italian Grill.

There also will be several guest speakers, including Haley Kilpatrick, founder of Atlanta-based Girl Talk.
Girl Talk, a nonprofit organization, focuses on student-to-student mentoring by allowing high school girls to mentor middle school girls, according to its Web site.

Organizer Therieau said she was at first unsure the church could afford offering a free event — the entire weekend is estimated to cost $10,000 — but the community’s support, she said, has been overwhelming.

“With the economy the way it is, we were kind of scared to offer this free event for people because we really didn’t think people were going to be able to afford to help us,” she said. “(But) people are really stepping up and willing to donate.”

Trollinger, Therieau and Monforte, all small-group leaders at the church, saw the need for the event after talking with their middle school girls.

“What all these girls are struggling with is respecting themselves and feeling bad about themselves,” said Therieau.

Trollinger added: “There’s a misconception that girls have to dress a certain way and they have to look in the mirror 15 times before they leave to go to school that morning. If things don’t look right then their biggest fear is that they’re not going to be culturally accepted.”

Church officials said they hope 150 or more girls will attend, and Therieau said she wants each girl who participates to leave knowing she’s beautiful.

“We want to bring them into this event and teach them to respect themselves and to show them that they’re loved and that they’re beautiful no matter what they look like, what size they are, what color they are, that they’re beautiful from the inside out.”



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