From SHY to SKY HIGH!
On 19th January 2021, Future Female Society (FFS) started their EmpowHER journey with a group of local young women and girls excited to work on a new social action programme. Of the group, half were participants that FFS had worked with previously through their Girls Where You At? (GWYA) programme, whilst the other half were new recruits. One of these new participants was Lacey, a quiet and shy 11-year-old who would often join the zoom sessions with her camera and microphone off. Over the coming months, Lacey’s confidence grew dramatically, and she began using her camera and her voice to participate in icebreakers, social learning discussions and to share her own personal experiences.
“Before the project I was lonely and easily distracted. Which I think has changed, probably. I don’t even know how I got involved in EmpowHER, I think we were assigned to it by somebody. I wanted to make new friends because I was lonely. I wasn’t really around people before, so I got more involved with people and came to Empowher to do this more.”
During the programme Lacey was open and honest about her lack of self-esteem and confidence stating that “the biggest challenge was fitting in with new people I didn’t know…”.
The week that really helped Lacey to become more confident and some out of her shell was when the group was discussing body image and positivity. “I liked talking about the (social learning) subjects and past experience – the body positivity stuff was my favourite because it was like past experience because I’ve got body shamed and bullied a lot. It helped me a lot because it made me feel more confident in myself”. Lacey was open and honest in this session which continued for the remainder of the zoom sessions and when the group was eventually able to meet up in person in mid-April – “the most important thing I learnt in EmpowHer is to accept people for who they are”.
During the programme Lacey was involved in lots of cool new things - “As part of EmpowerHer I took part in the Pitch, the zoom calls, the meeting up in real-life and winning £400!”. Her commitment to learning new skills and supporting others in the group has been inspiring and this has helped her to learn new things – “Something I’ve never done before is a pitch and talking in front of lots of people. Also, I’d never done a zoom meeting before”.
“Three words to describe my experience of Empowher: exciting, amazing and difficult… (doing EmpowHER) “…will help (others) and make them realise that you need to speak up and share your voice. I learnt that speaking to people isn’t so bad after all.”
Overall, it has been a positive experience and I would recommend it to my friends because it’s fun here. Join because it’s fun! I joined EmpowHER out of past experience and now I’m not afraid”. Lacey’s growth in confidence, personality and her own opinions has been great to see, and we can’t wait to keep working with her in the future.