COMMUNITY FOCUS: Millwood Middle School's Beauty and Brains Program.


School is tough for kids, from peer pressure to maintaining the grade, it can take a major toll but Millwood Middle School is hoping a new program will help young girls. It's called "Beauty and Brains" program.

Deonna McIntosh explains what's it's like to be a middle school student.

"7th grades are usually talking about like social media and how pretty they are," said McIntosh

"Things are constantly changing and so standards are constantly changing," said Millwood Teacher Shakari Stroud.

Shakari Stroud is a teacher leading a session on self-worth for the "Beauty and Brains" program at Millwood Middle School.

"You can be beautiful, you can have brains , and still be the athlete on the court," said Stroud.

Stroud say it's design is to encourage girls to embrace who they are and to uplift their peers around them and so far it's working through various activities like writing words of affirmation about their classmates on paper dolls. During the "I AM ME" session the girls reveal painful truths, some that resonated with Stroud's personal experiences as a child.

"Growing up I always heard, you're so pretty to be a dark skin girl and so a lot of people think that's a compliment but it’s really not, so if I wasn't dark skin would I just be beautiful."

But that's why Stroud says lessons on self-care are so instrumental for these girls, so they won't feel threatened by societal ills.

" They can be whoever they want to be they can own whatever they want to own and look how they want to look, and still be successful and authentic doing that."

The girls also went to sessions on health and hair care. 150 girls attended and they're already planning next year's "Beauty and Brains program that was actually created by our "S.T.E.M Teacher of the Month", Samone Thompson.

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