May 18, 2022
By: Elicia Dover
A local non-profit called Real Images is focused on teaching young girls about positive self-image. The organization is working to show them that they are beautiful inside and out, regardless of what's being pushed on them in magazines, tv and social media. According to a study published in Science Daily, 90 percent of young women report using a filter or editing their photos before posting them online.
At a workshop, participants are shown the process of digitally altering models images. It was shocking to the room full of young girls. That's exactly what Michelle Barnes, the founder of Real Images is hoping to do.
A former educator, Barnes says she saw the need to teach young girls about having a positive self-image.
"I want to be what I desired growing up in the school system and so having positive female role models, having someone to care about how I was feeling about my own self image and self esteem, that is the personal connection I have to found this organization,” Barnes said.
For the last 8 years, Real Images has been holding MIRROR workshops that train girls in their classroom about respect, identifying positive images and discarding negative ones.
Barnes says a higher self-esteem allows the girls to gain confidence to succeed.
Sixth grader Carly Turner wants to be surgeon one day.
"So we talk about what we want to do in the future and things we can do to get there to reach our goals,” Turner said.
Real Images puts money behind the mission too. Bringing successful women together in the community to give scholarships to young girls.
"For our women to join us in being a role model for our young girls to let them know that anything they want to be is obtainable and we're right to show them it's a reality,” Barnes said.
A reality that they can be empowered and confident in not only their appearance, but who they are.
If you're interested in having them come to your child's school, you can go to realimages.org.