Thursday, June 25, 2015

Elements for Girls Can help Tweens/Teens Become Self- Empowered!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge,from AuthenticMe, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

AuthenticME, a company created by two women who have dedicated their careers to helping adolescent girls. It was born in 2012, out of Sandra McDonnell and Mary Ellen Young’s passion for empowering girls to be their best selves. For Mary Ellen, the passion was ignited in 2004 when serving on her local school board, she came across an article about the negative, life-long impacts of relational aggression (girl bullying) on girls in school. This sparked discussions with her peers which ultimately led to the formation of Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence, Inc.(, a non-profit organization where she served as president for several years. In 2009, after serving on the HGNA board, Sandra took over the leadership helm of HGNA, which has served thousands of girls and parents in the western suburbs of Chicago with programs designed to educate, empower and strengthen the individual.

AuthenticME is cut directly from that cloth and was created to provide girls with tools to help them on their discovery of their authentic self. The company's mission is to develop products that will encourage girls to explore, embrace and empower all aspects of their authentic selves. Their first book project aims to do just that!

elements for girls book

ELEMENTS is a self-discovery book and bracelet for tween and early teen girls. This unique book invites girls to read, reflect and complete simple, fun activities while exploring important elements of growing up such as self-acceptance, empathy, communication and friendship. The theme of self-care is woven into the book in sections on sleep, healthy eating and stress management. With original doodle art throughout the book, girls are encouraged to express themselves with color, drawings and writing to make the book their own.

Elements for Girls cover

As chapters are completed, girls use the creative kit included to design their own unique bracelet. The bracelet elements – colorful hemp, beads and charms – cleverly remind girls of the chapter themes to reinforce what was learned. Written by women with extensive experience in working with adolescents and parenting their own daughters, paired with the input of countless girls who had a hand in the concept, themes and activities, ELEMENTS is sure to become a treasured resource and keepsake.

This book is a great resource for parents to help their pre-teens/teens address common issues in their lives like, connecting with their feelings, healthy eating, self-acceptance, empathy, sleeping, decision making, communications and stress management. The book really gets to the basics of the issues at hand in simple language that teens can relate to, as you can see:

Elements for Girls sample page 1

The section on empathy allows girls to work through real-life examples of how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. “Developing empathy is a critical skill in reducing bullying and building healthy relationships,” according to Young, a bullying consultant and speaker in relational aggression. “A cute flip flop is the bracelet charm for this section, and serves as a reminder for the girls to put themselves in each other’s shoes. It is our goal to create a reminder for our girls so that when the temptation is there to throw out their arm and save a seat, instead they will look at their wrist, think about what it feels like to be that girl standing there, and make room.”

Elements for Girls sample page 2

Many girls had a hand in development of the concept for the book and bracelet project, via local focus groups who completed two sample chapters at home, and then shared their thoughts. “Their insight was key. We were motivated by how much they loved the concept,”  said McDonnell. The project was a creative family affair too, with Young and McDonnell’s three high school- and college-aged daughters playing key roles:  Sierra Young, a talented artist, created all the original doodle art, Nora Young, inserted her keen sense of style into the book and bracelet designs, and Emma McDonnell, researched and selected “the coolest beads” she could find.

Elements for Girls sample page 3

Integral to the concept is a bracelet that girls create as they work their way through the book:  “The beads are a fun, visual reminder of what is learned in the book,” according to Mary Ellen Young,  “It takes time and practice to develop healthy, positive habits and skills,” said Young.

This is a WONDERFUL gift to give as a birthday or start of school (especially for middle/jr high kids)! As you can see from the sample pages above, the book really seeks to get girls to see how special and unique they each are, and how to be the person they SHOULD be. I love the bracelet interaction- most girls in this age grouping love crafting, and it is a great way to add more involvement and thinking about the different topics,as well as serving as a starting point for conversations, when they are asked about the bracelet!  If you have a tween/teen who seems to be struggling to fit in, to find her way, or seems lost, this book may just be the perfect gift for them! 

You can purchase the book on the AuthenticMe website, and at local stores in Illinois and Michigan. It comes in 2 versions- standard as we reviewed, and Deluxe, with a gel pen set!

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