Where’s Bill? With Aly, Meeting the Movemeant Foundation Team
By: Aly Quiroz-Perez, Program Associate
On a Friday afternoon, Bill and I found ourselves in a classroom with pop and hip hop music blasting from a Bluetooth speaker, with the Movemeant Foundation team of Jenny Gaither, CEO and Charina Lumley, COO, and a group of middle school girls—the track team at the Oakland Military Institute. Jenny was leading the group in a warm up routine with creative dance moves. After the first song was over, there was a noticeable change in the girls who had appeared shy and timid earlier. They smiled more, they laughed together and giggled, and they cheered each other on.
The Movemeant Foundation works with schools to help young girls respect and love their bodies and themselves through self-confidence building exercises, so that they can succeed in academics and in life. Jenny talked about how women and girls are constantly exposed to negative body images and unrealistic beauty standards. She expressed her own struggles with maintaining a positive body image and shared how she overcame her body dissatisfaction through her passion for dance and fitness. One of the girls, Rhea, spoke up, saying that sometimes she feels insecure but that running makes her feel powerful.
In one activity aimed at boosting self-esteem, Jenny had the girls start on one side of the classroom and one by one walk confidently to the center, strike a power pose for a few seconds, and walk confidently again to the other side of the room. There were cheers as each girl made it to the other side, and the applause got louder and louder until the last girl joined the rest of her peers. Jenny succeeded in creating a judgement-free zone that allowed the girls to loosen up, play, and have fun while helping them to feel unstoppable. This was a wonderful thing to witness.