NEW LONDON -- Middle School can be a tough time for young girls. There's peer pressure, bullying, and expectations to look and act a certain way. Now, a group of teens in New London has developed a special mentoring program to boost self esteem.
Cambria Fitzgerald has come to New London Intermediate-Middle School to give fifth graders something she never got at that age: a lesson on how to love yourself. "It's kind of heartwarming to see the girls take to us so well and listen to what we're saying and realize that 'it doesn't matter what I look like. It doesn't matter what I do. I'm unique and I'm beautiful'."
Cambria, along with her New London High School classmates Caitlin Schmidt and Jenna Mytton, created the True Beauty Campaign. "One of True Beauty's main goals is making sure that girls won't turn toward abusive behaviors, drugs and alcohol, or bad relationships," Schmidt says.
Through team building exercise, like constructing marshmallow towers or getting to know you activities, that foster friendships. These pre-teens are learning confidence and compassion. "So many girls are impacted by magazines and TV. Id' want them to not go through the same things that I went through," Mytton says.
The True Beauty leaders are also handing out bracelets to each of the girls as a reminder that they are all perfect just the way they are. "It's really neat to see them interacting with the high school girls. I think it's made a big impact on them," says fifth grade teacher Theresa Smith.
Fifth grader Victoria Sims says, "It gave me a lot of self confidence and to believe in myself and don't let anyone else put you down."
"If a bully is up to you, you have to speak up and believe in yourself," says fifth grader Hannah Weyland.
It's a message True Beauty's founders hope will continue to make a positive impact in the classroom and the community.
"I just like the fact that I'm helping somebody and if I only help one person, that's what matters to me," Mytton says.