Delta students speak about body image

By Michael Piwowarski, photographer

BAY CITY – A group of students from Professor Barb Handley-Miller’s COM-214W Small Group Communication class spoke to an assembly of middle school students from Christa McAuliffe Middle School at the lecture theater in John Glenn High School Nov. 30, 2017. The class was assigned to do a group service learning project for the fall term.

The presentation encompassed body image and the pitfalls of social media. According to Handley-Miller, approximately 600 middle school students from sixth, seventh and eighth grades attended the presentation entitled “Love Your Body, Love Yourself: Creating a Positive Body Image.”

The students shared their own experiences about being bullied and shamed about the way they looked and offered advice on how to deal with these issues in life. They also used videos, celebrity quotes and factoids to aid their presentation.

Student Simone Vaughn recalled being bullied and being ashamed of her own body.

“I just did not love myself,” she said to the assembly. “I didn’t like the way I looked, I didn’t like my skin color and I didn’t like my hair.”

Vaughn continued by explaining how this mindset can be challenged.

“Identify someone in your life who is confident in their own skin,” she said. “Someone who does not need anyone to tell them, ‘You’re so pretty, oh my gosh, you’re so cute.’ You should not need to have somebody tell you that.”

Other ways to challenge this, as Vaughn stated, include confronting those who perpetuate body shaming and to find one or more things that you like about yourself.

“It could be your eyes, your skin color, your hair; anything,” said Vaughn. “I think my skin color is the best thing about myself, other than my personality, of course.”

Another group in Professor Handley-Miller’s class did a presentation to an assembly of elementary school students at Shields Elementary about cutting back on technology. They taught the children yoga, meditation, sign language and helped them connect with pen pal students at Washington Elementary in Bay City.

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