Mean girls, bullies, frenemies, at some point in school, we’ve all faced one of them. But what’s the root of it all?
One local woman is empowering young girls through a program called I am Bella.
Creator Celina Broyles says it comes from something deep within and whether you are the perpetrator or on the receiving end, she wants to take all girls and parents on an emotional journey to heal.
Girls like Tayja Ivory who have gone through the program, say they come out on the other side, a completely different person.
“Now I talk to everybody, everybody. I sit in front of the class, in every class,” Ivory said.
But a year ago, the 8th-grader had low self-esteem, was very shy and scared to be her true self.
“I was happy, but I didn’t smile a lot, I didn’t like anything, I was a very negative person,” she said.
Her mom, Robyn Ivory, said she can see a major difference as well.
“We’ve always been close, but since the program for the both of us and me knowing how she has felt about herself, and the responsibilities I put on her, I think we have more of an open communication,” she said.
And that’s the whole idea behind the program I Am Bella program.
“I know it will change you, if you’re ready for change...It’s spiritual, mentally, and emotional healing that takes place,” said Broyles.
I Am Bella is currently in eight different schools in the Cleveland school district and two Akron charter schools.
That healing, Broyles talks about, happens through a series of self-esteem activities and affirmation exercises, all in effort to get the to dig deep into their pain, to heal it.
“It’s many sessions that you’re just like, yeah I’m not coming back because it’s really intense,” Ivory’s mom said.
“It’s a very emotional thing; I cried every time I came out of class,” said Ivory, now a graduate of the program and one who helps other girls as they go through it.
The 12-week program is for girls from middle to high school, and recently Broyles added a special version of the program for parents, in order to help them heal from past traumas too.