For the girls

Self-esteem can be tricky. Too much might come off as arrogance, but too little is equally damaging. For girls and women in particular, appropriate self-esteem can be hard to achieve.

Empowering Through Beauty Foundation, a Norwalk-based nonprofit, strives to address that balancing act. Recently, the organization presented 60 sixth-grade girls with lifelong beauty queen awards – to recognize their self-worth, education, community service and sisterhood values.

The organization was founded by Tanisha Akinloye, who personally crowned all 60 of the girls. Recognized by the hash tag #BeautyQueenTakeover, this initiative encourages girls to become strong leaders in their own lives, as well as across the community. This is just one of the nonprofit’s many programs, which offer educational opportunities and cosmetology services to underserved communities nationwide.

“We want young women to know that they are queens, says Akinloye. “With so much negativity going around – not only in schools, but also in the world – we wanted to reinforce positivity and encouragement for these young women. The girls made my day, just as much as we made their day. There’s no doubt they will continue to believe, hope and do great things!”

Akinloye’s daughter, Symphony, an eighth grader at Hillcrest Middle School in Trumbull, also offered words of encouragement.

“We are not going to wait for the next beauty pageant to tell our girls they are queens,” Symphony has said. “They were born queens.”

The girls were crowned on May 19 at the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk. The event was shared across social media using the hash tags #EmpoweringThroughBeauty, #IAmABeautyQueen and #BeautyQueenTakeover.

 For more about the foundation, visit empoweringthroughbeauty.org.

 -Danielle Renda

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