13-year-old Sarah McCrory says she has gained more understanding of accepting herself and others following the second edition of the Lothians Girls Project (LGP) in Livingston.
Sarah was one of the teenage girls who participated in the 6-week course on social, mental and physical health, which EPIC Assist Charity Scotland ran in conjunction with West Lothian Youth Action Project in the Craigshill area of Livingston from October to November. The 13-year-old took several aspects away from the Project.
‘I liked learning about how there are different ways of showing how you feel about yourself and about other people, and learning about how other people feel’, she said.
The sessions on self-esteem and gender stereotypes, where body image was addressed in the latter, made a particular impression on Sarah.
‘I learned that there are different types of body images; both good and bad types. I also learned that there are good ways to speak about yourself’, said the 13-year-old.
She is confident that the discussions made through the LGP can help her in the future.
‘If I ever get bullied, I now know I can be okay with my body image and that the way I feel is how I feel and not how anyone else feels,’ Sarah stated.
Andrea Sneddon, one of the West Lothian Youth Action Project staff members who assisted with the delivery of the Project, also agreed that one of the highlights was the fact that the participants learned to respect each other’s opinions through the LGP. She also noticed behavioural changes in some of the girls.
‘One of the girls [who did not do so prior to the Project] is now participating and joining in,’ Ms Sneddon said.
The feedback from the questionnaires which were given to the participants, who were all girls from the local area between the ages of 13 to 16, supports the notion that their attitudes and behaviours had changed as a result of the LGP. For instance, one girl mentioned that she had become more confident, two girls mentioned how they had learned not to judge people and one girl said she had changed her attitudes towards healthy eating.
As with EPIC’s previous girls’ projects, this edition of the LGP revolved around discussions and activities through sessions allocated to each of the following topics: physical activity, relaxation and stress relief, relationships and communication skills, self-esteem, gender stereotypes and healthy eating. The latter session was as usual the winner among the girls as 60% of the participants said that this session was the most enjoyable one. This was probably not a wonder as the girls were allowed to make and enjoy spring rolls, guacamole and smoothies!
EPIC Assist Charity Scotland is pleased to have been able to complete two girls’ projects in Livingston with different age groups that benefited in different ways from the LGP. We would like to thank the participants for their active participation and enthusiasm, West Lothian Youth Action Project for assisting us with running the Project and John Watson’s Trust for providing the funding. EPIC hopes to be able to come back to Livingston to run more projects with the participants so that they can be able to further develop the skills they gained through the LGP!