Girls finding self-esteem in the arts

Tyler
Tyler Clarke
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Carlton Comprehensive Public High School Grade 12 student Natalia McGill is organizing a series of weekend arts workshops aimed at improving the self-esteem of girls. 

Involvement in the arts have helped Grade 12 student Natalia McGill develop positive self esteem -- an influence she plans on sharing with other girls.

 

Early in the new year, McGill and a band of volunteers plan on hosting a series of arts-centred workshops, titled “Reflections -- Workshops for Girls.”

Inspiration came this spring while McGill said that she was touring the city as part of her drama program’s anti-bullying workshop.

“I was in a class full of girls … so I told them to all close their eyes, and I asked them, ‘how many of you have felt worthless or maybe not beautiful or things like that -- how many felt self harm because you had low self esteem or didn’t feel good enough?’”

The youngsters’ reaction was a bit overwhelming for McGill.

“Almost all of the girls put up their hands every time,” she said. “I couldn’t really handle that, so I left the room and cried a little bit.”

Looking back on her own life, McGill said that she’s always found inspiration and self-definition in the arts, and that her artistic endeavours have helped foster a positive self image.

“All of the groups that I’ve been part of, like my drama company and my dance studio -- they’re all really supportive and positive environments,” she said.

“In magazines you see all of these girls who are just crazy edited, who aren’t even themselves anymore, and a lot of it in schools is, the girls have this perception of what beauty should be, from the Internet and TV and magazines and that type of stuff.

“Girls start seeing themselves as not as good as other girls, and not beautiful and worthless.”

Involvement in the arts can help develop self-esteem and self worth, and shows people what they are capable of when they put their hearts into something, McGill said.

Backed by a small group of volunteers ranging from high school age to adult, McGill is planning weekend-long workshops in February or March.

In magazines you see all of these girls who are just crazy edited, who aren’t even themselves anymore, and a lot of it in schools is, the girls have this perception of what beauty should be, from the Internet and TV and magazines and that type of stuff. Natalia McGill

During Monday’s city council meeting, the city’s elected officials forwarded McGill’s request for free use of the Margo Fournier Centre to the community services department for consideration.

The workshops will focus on singing, drama, musical theatre and art, and will be divided into two age groups -- nine to 11 and 12 to 14.

“I thought it would be good to start early -- to get younger girls more aware of what’s going on,” McGill said. “At that age they’re starting to understand what’s happening in media, what’s happening in schools and starting to understand bullying and all that psychological development.”

Everything is being organized and put on by volunteers, McGill said, noting that no one is making a penny.

Organizers are currently considering whether there will be a cost for participation. If there is a cost, McGill said that all proceeds will go toward a non-profit organization that strives to help women, such as the YWCA.

The entire effort is about influencing a positive self-esteem in girls, McGill said.

“Maybe there could be a change if bullying and self-esteem could be improved, especially at a younger age, so I kind of want to make a little change.”

Various details, such as a venue, still have to be hashed out, though McGill said that she’s committed to doing hosting the weekend workshops some time in the new year.

Those interested in either participating or helping to organize “Reflections -- Workshop for Girls” can contact McGill by phone at 306-981-2229, or by email at reflectionsworkshop@outlook.com.

Organizations: Margo Fournier Centre, YWCA

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  • Shari
    December 10, 2013 - 11:03

    That's awesome Tal!!!! Good job so proud of you!!!!