After our program students say that mental health does not seem as taboo of a topic as it did prior.
I love the sudden feeling of connection. The one where you're mid sentence sharing with someone and suddenly you see the other person’s eyes soften, the corners of their mouth create a smirk, while simultaneously everything around you slows down. Then, your brain registers, “They get me.”
I have had this experience with the students in the Rewrite Beautiful programs. There is a distinct stillness that comes over the room when I talk about seeing people’s beauty for their creativity, kindness, and strength. Whether it’s a group of 10 year olds or 30 year olds, everyone wants to live in a world where we look beyond the surface. A world where we take more time to notice people’s character rather than their physique. Where we spend more time admiring our own actions and less time criticizing the flesh and bones that house our soul.
This concept is something Rewrite Beautiful has been reinforcing through our message of creativity, kindness and strength since its inception in 2010. Rewriting the definition of beauty is an ongoing effort-just this year we educated 1,400 students. However, it takes great time and energy to maintain the thousands of connections we have cultivated. The effort and resources needed to maintain and grow our organization far exceeds our current capacity. Acknowledging this, the Rewrite Beautiful board of directors and I have mindfully chosen to celebrate all that Rewrite Beautiful has accomplished and dissolve the organization at the end of 2015.
I would like to personally thank all of our donors, board members, Beautiful Actionistas, and volunteers who have given so generously to Rewrite Beautiful. Your dedication has changed many lives for the better. Here are just a few of the things you have helped make possible:
1. According to our stats, we kicked ass at educating on eating disorders and changing the way people see beauty. Since 2010, we have educated over 6,000 people. After our school programs, students as young as 10 years old reported:
▪ Having greater knowledge about the harm of eating disorders than before the program.
▪ Being able to name local eating disorder recovery resources.
▪ Feeling more compassion for people struggling with mental illness.
▪ A change in their idea of what makes themselves and others beautiful.
2. We made the taboo cool. We creatively engaged people in the conversation about eating disorders by:
▪ Hosting 3 art shows, highlighting the work of 20 Southern California artists.
▪ Teaching 12 street art workshops to over 300 participants.
▪ Supporting 12 Beautiful Action Clubs across the USA and Korea.
▪ Publishing a book and workbook that is now used as narrative therapy in addiction rehabs.
In total you have helped us work with over 42 different groups and organizations.
3. We changed the course of many lives. One that sticks out to me is Julia Schaeffer, a program participant who said,
“I struggled with bulimia for 6 years. The disease told me that I am worthless, ugly and a burden. But, the night I met Irvina through Rewrite Beautiful my life completely changed. For the first time ever, I realized that I had a disease and that there are people who understand my struggle and want to help. Before this evening, I had no idea there was a way out of this nightmare. This organization saved my life.”
I think that calls for a slow clap for all of us.
As an organization that has focussed on prevention, we have voted to donate our remaining funds to Teen Line: a non-profit that prevents teenage suicide. We chose Teen Line because eating disorders are the most deadly of mental illnesses, these deaths are due to suicides and heart attacks. The rest of our goods (art supplies, books and t-shirts) will be donated to Orangewood Children’s Home and The Salvation Army. Also aligning with the Rewrite Beautiful mission to create a better future for our youth and provide rehabilitation to those struggling with addiction.
My hope for all of you is that you continue to live out the Rewrite Beautiful message. One way I personally do this is every morning I think through what’s on my schedule and then I visualize how I will use my creativity, kindness, and strength that day. When I am mindful to carry out these actions, I see myself and others in a more beautiful way. You should try it-it has actually been statistically proven to make the world the kind of place we all want to be in :) As for me, I’ll be making art, writing, and pondering the next universal truth. If you'd like to connect with me, you can do so in the universal photo booth, Instagram @IrvinaKanarek.
Founder + Rewriter-In-Chief
Did you see Rewrite Beautiful in the Daily Pilot today?! We are so honored!
Rhea Mahbubani wrote a story about the work we are doing to prevent eating disorders and our upcoming art show, TRANSFORMATION at The Island Hotel!
Read all about it HERE!
Want to support the work of Rewrite Beautiful? Donation opportunities HERE!
I spoke about feminism, eating disorders and sexualization with the Orange County Register last Friday! Bummed, they edited out the stuff I said about mental health. I guess the OC can only handle so much Irvina in one day ;) The article that appeared in the OC Register is below:
Women's History Month : 'Why aren't women farther along?'
By: Irvina Kanarek
The feminist movement today reminds me of the computer game from the fifth grade, "The Oregon Trail."
To me there seemed to be a glitch in the program because it appeared as if everyone became plagued with yellow fever before ever reaching Oregon.
Today's women have the road to the top paved for them with the advancements in women's rights and gender equality in the workplace. So, the biggest question during Women's History Month is, "Why aren't women farther along?"
The glitch is that though at no other time in history have American women been more equipped, there also has not been a time when so many have been sick:
- 1 in 4 women struggles with eating disorders
- 1 in 8 women struggles with depression
- 4 million women are alcoholics
Consider how our society and economy suffers with that many women out of work, on unemployment or in rehabs. In my role as a counselor in an eating disorder rehab, I have seen women who were chief executives. What are we as a society doing wrong that a woman can climb to the top just to throw herself out of the corner office?
Some blame the media, for its sexualization of women. Studies by The American Psychological Association show that young women who see themselves as sex objects are more likely to be depressed and have eating disorders. They also have lower ambition.
In the fields of film, marketing and writing, we need to advocate for portraying strong female characters who come in a variety of body types. As viewers we need to advocate for change.
I am blessed to be fully equipped with an education and entrepreneurial spirit. I am lucky to have survived the trail, but I passed many women with the same map as I had who didn't make it.
There is a glitch in this system, and it will take the collective voice of all of us to fix it.
Want to feature Rewrite Beautiful in your newspaper, magazine or blog? Email Press@RewriteBeautiful.org for more info!
Congrats to our Founder, Irvina Kanarek for being the youngest person to make it into the Daily Pilot Hall of Fame today! Recognized for her work in the Newport-Mesa community to prevent eating disorders with Rewrite Beautiful! Yeah baby!
In case you missed it Rewrite Beautiful was featured on the TV show, Joy in Our Town! It was an awesome opportunity to get the word out about eating disorders and bring some attention to prevention! A special thanks to the lovely Michelle Smith, LVN the Program Director of The Victorian, eating disorder treatment center for speaking about the mental and physical components of eating disorders. Also, a super special thanks to our very own Board Member, the remarkable Robyn Baker who gave her eating disorder testimony! These two women made this a well rounded show! I admire both of you for the work you do so other girls and women can also Rewrite Beautiful for themselves. Now we just need to figure out how to get on to Ellen together ;) xoxo!
It’s always nice when T.V. producers call you begging you, for your time ;) Especially when it has nothing to do with your 72 day marriage and everything to do with a cause that means the world to you: changing how women see beauty in themselves and preventing eating disorders. The Trinity Broadcasting Network aka ‘The television network with a little fetish for Christmas lights” which (besides the whole Mother Earth thing) I think does a pretty-good-artsy-job with those millions of tiny bulbs...anyways, those fine folks asked if I and a few other eating disorder professionals would come on their show Public Affairs. Apparently, the producer was enjoying her latte one morning and read this article about Rewrite Beautiful in the OC Register. She bookmarked it wanting to do a show on it.
I was accompanied on the show by the lovely Michelle Smith, LVN, the Program Director of The Victorian – eating disorder treatment center in Newport Beach, CA. As well as the lovely Robyn Baker, an eating disorder survivor. Both these ladies are incredibly intelligent, poised and gracious. And dude, Robyn’s apparently a veteran at this, she was once on the Tyra show to talk about eating disorders! Such a rockstar for recovery and prevention this woman is!
The show runs for a half hour and if I do say so myself we all rocked it with some really awesome and relevant information the public needs to know about eating disorders. Be sure to check it out!
The show is scheduled to air on:
January 13th at 10 am
January 16th at 8:30 am
January 19th at 3 am (*for my fellow insomniacs!)
Rewrite Beautiful is so stoked to announce that we are being featured in the Lifestyle + Charity SHOP this week! That means that every purchase from 10/31 through 11/06 will be combined and 10% of that total will go to Rewrite Beautiful! Please check out the Lifestyle + Charity SHOP and see if you can get a head start on some Christmas gifts, birthday gifts or maybe find something just for your BEAUTIFUL self :) Thanks for the support beauty's! Happy Shopping!
Keepin' it Beautiful,
Where do all of the free thinking, off beat marching, riff raff entrepreneurs and creatives go for inspiration? Create The Map! Create The Map is a blog for creative entrepreneurs, dreamers and free thinkers looking for inspiration to make their projects and dreams come true!
Being a rebellious, hard working and creative chick I was asked to do an interview about how Rewrite Beautiful started with Jay Delaney of Create The Map. Check out our conversation here:
Combining Three Passions Into a Nonprofit
Irvina Kanarek used to have three different jobs: (1) a nanny, (2) and art teacher, and (3) a job at an eating disorder rehab center. Through each of these jobs – and the juxtaposition of them – she learned that how women see beauty in themselves has a rippling effect throughout their lives, from birth to childhood to adulthood. One day, in the midst of writing and reading a blog post online, she had the realization to start a nonprofit aimed at telling girls, “Your beauty isn’t in the way you look.” Irvina launched the nonprofit Rewrite Beautiful to help prevent eating disorders.
“I think every single thing you do, take a look at it. That’s building on the next thing you’re going to do and building on the next thing you’re going to do.” -Irvina Kanarek
As she was developing the nonprofit, Irvina had a few key criteria she wanted to stick to. She wanted prevention to be one of her main points; she knew she wanted to use art; she knew she wanted it to be fun; and she knew she wanted it to be something open to people of all ages. Slowly she began to share the idea with people, and many of her friends could see the passion she had. (Irvina has had an eating disorder herself.) The idea blossomed and evolved over a year’s time as she had conversations with friends who worked in fields such as marketing, communications, and law; they each helped push her onward, asking important questions, offering valuable advice, and ultimately helping her to refine her idea.
*To read the rest of this article please visit the following link: http://www.createthemap.com/irvina-kanarek