With files from Estefania Duran
21-year-old SFU student Tayor Lin Hui started the BeaYOUtiful program back when she was just 17, after being bullied herself and watching friends battle eating disorders and low self esteem.
“I just realized that girls who weren’t confident in themselves would start to take down other people around them to make themselves feel better. And I thought, what a backwards way society is functioning – how can we change that?”
Hui says in her experience, the problems take root as early as grade three or four, so it is important to get a positive message to girls when they’re still young.
“So I decided, why not target this in elementary school when girls are starting to feel these different self esteeem issues?”
She says the volunteer run program focuses on building confidence, self empowerment, and teaching girls to love themselves.
“You have to love yourself first to give that to others.”
On the same level
Hui says what really lets the program work is that it’s run by peer mentors – and that young girls are the ones helping other young girls, something particularly relevant today, in a world of cyberbulling and toxic social media.
But she says ironically – being closer to the girls has been one of her biggest hurdles: proving as a 21-year-old she’s old enough and experienced enough to run the program.
She says she’s learned the answer to that question.
“What better way to relate, connect, and pass on a message than from those who have recently encountered those situations?”
The program is open to girls in grade five and six, is six-weeks long, and runs after school.
Hui says it’s mostly in partnership with the Surrey school district, and expanding to Langley and Pitt Meadows.
She hopes to make inroads to Vancouver by next fall.