Love Your Natural Self Foundation (LYNS)

A movement that encourages self-love and empowers students to celebrate who they are by promoting positive internal dialogue and self-care.

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  • Technology

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Help us stay in touch!

713-449-8875 4646 Hazel Ave Philadelphia, PA 19143

Website or social media url(s) (optional):

https://www.loveyournaturalself.org/

Date You Started Your Project Started

02/13/2012

Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

Schools should be safe spaces, where students feel loved, accepted, and celebrated. Unfortunately, not every student feels this way, because students are never taught to develop positive internal dialogue. Developing self-esteem in young people needs to be addressed. Studies have shown that low self-esteem can lead to higher drop-out rates, lower academic achievement, violent behavior, and higher rates of mental illness.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

We provide K-12 programming guides that cover identity, mental health, courage, vulnerability, and anti-bullying. Each of these topics is covered thoroughly, reducing the stigma surrounding them. Students are taught tangible skills such as coping skills, how to ask for help, and how to develop compassion towards themselves and others. These program guides have activities on every topic with completion times that range from 5 minutes to several days, making it adaptable to all classrooms. We also host assemblies surrounding the topics of self-image and self-love. At our assemblies, young people share their stories of resilience, giving the students hope that it is possible to overcome adversity. Lastly, we facilitate the celebration of The International Day of Self Love (IDSL). IDSL is an international movement that takes place on February 13th, the day before Valentine's Day, because it is important to fully love yourself before loving others. This movement takes place both on social media and on campuses around the world. Schools celebrate this day by decorating the school with positive messaging, having a dialogue about mental illness, and creating a safe space for all students

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I will never forget the morning I woke up with all of my hair on my pillow. At twelve years old, I was diagnosed with Alopecia. With every strand of hair, I lost a bit of confidence until I felt like I was left with nothing. I began to wear a wig and struggled with depression and self-harm. The bullying was endless. From finding a mean note in my locker titled "50 Ways To Go Kill Yourself" to an online BurnPage created to guess all of the reasons I was wearing a wig, I was heartbroken. As I moved closer to rock-bottom, I knew I had two choices. I could either forego my wig and try to move towards self-acceptance or I could continue to battle depression and suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, I found the courage to accept myself. I started to practice self-care by attending counseling and slowly learning to love myself. I am inspired to help others find the same self-love I found.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I step up to make a change because I know what it's like to live in a world without self-love. Now, I want to help students all around the world find self-acceptance and self-love.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

When a campus chooses to bring our programming to their students, they start by reaching out to us with concerns they might have. This could be anything from seeing an increase in bullying on their campus to noticing low confidence levels in their students. Then, we create a personalized assembly and programming that addresses these concerns along with other important social and emotional learning topics. We travel to the campus, where we host an assembly, meet with student leaders, and meet with the staff to plan the next steps. At one assembly, we had a student who was self-harming approach us and share his story. He said that our assembly inspired him to open up about his struggles. Over the next few months, the schools counseling staff and our programming became a support system for him. Throughout the year, he stood up as a student leader, even hosting an LYNS event for his peers.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

There are very few programs that focus on being kind to yourself. Like many other anti-bullying programs, we want to create kinder and more accepting campuses. However, our approach is different. Instead of teaching students to be kind to others right away, we teach them to start with themselves. We believe that when students are fully able to love themselves, loving others come naturally. We also address topics that are taboo in schools such as mental health and identity. Our work starts at early childhood, ensuring that students are comfortable having these conversations at a young age.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

I started this project at 15 years old, and I have dedicated my life to its growth. We have impacted around 50,000 students on 150 campuses with our assemblies and programming guides. After taking part in our programming, 87 percent of students said it helped them build empathy towards themselves and others. The International Day of Self Love (IDSL) social media movement has been celebrated in 28 countries using our hashtag. From in-person workshops in South Africa to Skyping schools in India, we have heard amazing stories from individuals around the world. In honor of the Day of Self-Love, individuals have gone without their wigs/make-up, left abusive relationships, gotten help for mental illness, and so much more. IDSL is a beautiful celebration of loving who you are and doing something in honor of yourself, and I am so grateful LYNS promotes this message every year.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Last year, I was honored to receive the Harry S. Truman Scholarship which supports students pursuing a career in public service. Since then, I have started graduate school at The University of Pennsylvania, earning a dual degree in Non-Profit Leadership and Education, Culture, and Society. I hope to use this expertise to grow this organization, dreaming to someday run it full-time. This year, we started a new campaign called The Vulnerability Project where we encourage people to share their self-love journey. This will be an art exhibit on college campuses, hoping to inspire courage and vulnerability. We relaunched our website, have several new partnerships with campuses and non-profits and continue to spread our mission of self-love.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 66.7%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 33.3%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 66.7%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%

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