The Resistance Collective

Connecting body-positive spaces, causes, and people #everyBODY

Photo of Sienna Helena
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Written by

Eligibility: Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth

5/23/1996

Where are you located:

Illinois: Evanston (60201)

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

Website: http://www.theresistancecollective.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhYF269l2i3
Page for Student Event June 1: https://trcstudentbodies.splashthat.com

Date Started

2/8/2018

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

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project? NOTE: All applications must include a 1 minute video that answers: “I am stepping up to make change because..."

After noticing the devaluation and erasure of our bodies and the bodies of others, especially women, in fitness and wellness, we created our own space and invited female trailblazers on our campus to join us in weekly workouts. From these inclusive group workouts, we realized the approach of combining empowering workouts with awareness to social issues should be the norm in ALL fitness and wellness spaces.
 
As we learn to respect our own bodies, we can also learn respect the the bodies of others. We can transform fitness and wellness from what was originally thought of as individual pursuit to a community and societal effort. We will create communities promoting body-positivity and advance social impact.

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

The Resistance Collective exists for two reasons. First, there's a lack of representation and little emphasis on body-positivity in fitness & wellness messages and spaces. Second, many spaces for fitness & wellness do not take social responsibility in their communities even as several causes a need for more support.

This led us to the question, how might we change the culture of fitness and wellness to value all bodies and people?

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

We plan to solve this problem by building a community and changing beliefs and behaviors through a 3-pronged approach:

1) Ensuring Accountability - We will feature fitness & wellness spaces dedicated to promoting body positivity and bettering their communities. Spaces that meet our body-positive criteria and state a commitment and/or sign a pledge to social responsibility will be added to the Resistance Collective affiliates list. We will provide our affiliates with resources so that they can live out their commitment and connect them to The Resistance Collective (TRC) community members.

2) Establishing Connection - We will connect with and feature organizations dedicated to social justice/awareness (also known as partners). We will make content about these causes and how they are connected to body positivity. Partners can use our service to work with approved fitness & wellness spaces (affiliates) in their communities.

3) Creating Experiences - We will collaborate with affiliate and partners to create impactful events and programs. Members of TRC community can reserve spots at these events through our service and engage with other like-minded individuals.

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

*The account below is a hypothetical:

This Matters is a local non-profit bringing awareness to gun violence. Studio Y is a yoga studio committed to diversity & inclusion but looking for more ways to positively engage their community. Kendra is a member of the Resistance Collective who likes working out and cares about stopping gun violence.

We would connect This Matters, Studio Y, and people like Kendra. After meeting our standard as fitness/wellness space committed to body-positivity & social change, Studio Y we add to our affiliate network. At the same time, we would collaborate with This Matters on how they want expand and bring awareness to their cause. We would connect This Matters with Studio Y to host a fundraising workout followed by a workshop. Kendra would reserve a spot for this event through us thus using her money to workout, learn about a cause, and create impact.

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

Our approach highlights body-positivity at an individual and societal level and utilizes collaborative design.

Some fitness & wellness spaces do promote body positivity & host events in their community. We hold these spaces accountable & build the network to connect them with local community causes. Other solutions connect fitness/wellness spaces to causes but focus on single issues (i.e ONLY women’s empowerment). Comparatively, we emphasize body positivity in connection with any range of causes depending on the context & collaborate with affiliates & partners to make tailored experiences.

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

Since our project has recently started, there have been a number of changes in our approach, but with our initial program at Northwestern we have:
1) Hosted 3 months of weekly women’s empowerment workouts with 12+ students a session
2) Conducted follow-ups of women who attended workouts; students said they felt more connected with other women on campus, were inspired to workout for body-positive reasons, and would participate in more sessions
3) Created a Facebook community of 100+ members
4) Currently collaborating with artists to host event for awareness of student mental health

Future metrics of success:
1) # of active affiliates, partners, community members
2) # of events/connections between affiliates & partners
3) Measured impact of events for affiliate & partners
4) Engagement of community members, digitally & at events
5) Measured awareness of body-positivity.

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

1) Building our network of fitness & wellness spaces and social causes and organizations. We will be establishing connections to spaces and causes starting in the Chicagoland area. We'll create a standard of what kind of spaces will be considered affiliate and have spaces sign a public pledge.

2) Strategizing and organizing our digital presence. We have a website and are refining it to match our service. We'll have monthly social media campaigns to attract and engage community members. We publish content weekly featuring affiliates and partners.

3) Continue hosting events. We'll connect & collaborate with both affiliates (fitness & wellness spaces) and partners (social causes) to host at least 5 events by end of year in Chicago.

8. Future Support: What are the resources needed to make your vision a reality?

Northwestern University has connected us to mentors, workspace, and a community of students. From NU, we validated our idea through preliminary case studies of our service but we want to expand beyond this.

We need to connect with fitness/wellness spaces & social causes. We have ability to do so in Chicago but want team members to help expand. We also need team members & contributors to publish content (features, reviews, and social media).

We need a better functioning digital platform/website that can operate our service. We have the plans but need development expertise.

Finally, we would like materials/merch to sell & give to our community to establish our brand (i.e. stickers in windows of spaces & apparel to show support).

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

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors

10. Ripple Effect: Please share some ideas of how you could partner with other changemakers or involve other young people as leaders in making a difference.

Our service exists to connect fitness/wellness spaces with social justice causes & organizations; therefore, we constantly seek to engage and involve changemakers. Already we have made collaboration and dialogue a core component of our approach through our initial events and want to maintain this value as we grow. We want to know of other people’s experiences - how do they think about their bodies, what do their bodies mean to them, what are the causes they care about, and how can we incorporate this into The Resistance Collective? everyBODY is welcome and invited to join our community; the opportunities for collaboration are plenty.

One example of how we have done this since the short time we have started is by partnering with students championing women's empowerment on our campus. We were able to bring these student changemakers into a workout together who did not know of each other and thus built in community through movement. What we started is scalable beyond this example. Any and every committed space, cause, and individual can catalyze change through our platform.

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • White (for example: German, Irish, English, Italian, Polish, French) (6)
  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)
  • Asian (for example: Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Pakistani) (9)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • LGBTQ community
  • Religious minority (non-Christian)

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Recommended by others

Referral: If you discovered the Challenge thanks to an organization or person other than Ashoka or T-Mobile, who was it?

Northwestern's Garage

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5 comments

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Photo of Shuba Prasadh
Team

Sienna Helena This idea is really creative and has a lot of potential to bring great change! I completely agree that we must work towards spreading more body positivity, and your model for doing so is really cool. Good luck :)

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