BeYOUtiful Empowerment Portraits

March 11, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

As Ms. Marion called the after school meeting  to order the young women began by grabbing an affirmation from the jar and then reading them outloud,

"I don't give up."

And the group answered, "Ashay."

"I stand strong."

And the group answered, "Ashay."

"I'm a boss."

And the group answered, "Ashay."

"I love myself."

And the group answered, "Ashay."

"I got this."

And the group answered, "Ashay." And Ms. Marion added "you do baby girl."

"I'm beautiful in everyday."

And the group answered, "Ashay."

"I'm going to flood you with affirmations until your are uncomfortable because they are true about you," Ms. Marion, one of the amazing leaders of the Youth Guidance WOW (Working on Womanhood) Program reminded the ladies in the program.  Youth Guidance provides trauma informed individual and group counseling to high school young women. We celebrated their resilience and their identity with a photo session to celebrate their individual personalities and journey.

As I captured the portraits what stood out to me was the encouragement an laughter from the other young women as their friends took a turn capturing their portraits.  This FOR-ness is beautiful.  Celebrating each other as they embrace their strength and resilience.  

These leaders of WOW pour into the young women with vulnerability, wisdom, skill, and passion.  

After sending the gallery of images to Ms. Marion she responded, "These will be a staple in the girls' memories - group sessions today were full of affirmations of self acceptance and self love. Thank you so much for helping document this moment in these ladies' journeys. You are a gift."

THIS project was a gift to ME- EVERYONE needs these affirmations and in their lives and I am grateful for the opportunity to capture these amazing young women on their journey. There is something powerful about witnessing young people believing what is true and innate in them. This session was a powerful reminder of the power of words and celebrating the journey- not just the arrival. 

Alexis wanted to capture her portrait both in and out of her wheel chair because "I'm beautiful and resilient." Amen.  


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