The Story

The founding of Rewrite Beautiful…

Rewrite Beautiful started in the bedroom of a six-month old baby girl in Orange County, CA. I was her nanny, and as I was rocking her to sleep I was thinking of my teenage art students who couldn’t learn because they were struggling with eating disorders. Then, I thought of the grown women in the eating disorder rehab I worked at, some of which were well into their 60’s, whose abundant careers and families were falling apart because of this all consuming and deadly addiction. I asked for protection over this baby; that the precious moments of her life would not be darkened with an eating disorder––the most deadly of all mental illnesses. My request immediately gave me an answer: PREVENTION. 
 

Creativity…

Since that evening in 2009, the word “prevention” has been the driving force in educating over 5,000 students on the harms of eating disorders through Rewrite Beautiful Programs. We teach students the signs to look for, how to help a friend stop this disease before it takes over their lives and prevent the disease from spreading to the next generation. Not only have we given students the resources to help themselves, saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in treatment and resources (eating disorder treatment can cost up to $30,000 a month), but we have also seen lives saved. Our education program has pulled students out of the clutches of this disease. Some of our greatest success stories are from college students who experienced our programs and because of it realized they needed help before it was too late.

This past year Rewrite Beautiful has been rippling with new growth. Not only have our school programs continued across the western United States, but our student led Beautiful Action Clubs are in schools across the country (not to mention one in Korea and two in eating disorder rehabilitation centers). We are pushing forward in program partnerships with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Sage Hill High School to close out the year.

Our Sage Hill Program will pioneer the addition of young men in our programming. Ever increasing requests over the past few years have driven us to do something about the fact that body image is emerging as a pressing issue for males as well (1 in 10 men struggle with anorexia and bulimia and 1/3 of America is obese, which can be a result of compulsive overeating). This will be a great undertaking and represents significant expansion and change to Rewrite Beautiful's female-focused programming.

An even greater avenue for national growth has emerged with legislation in New York and Virginia schools. This legislation has created demand for eating disorder prevention and awareness programs (which just so happens to coincide with Rewrite Beautiful’s purpose) on campuses in these states, requiring schools to execute such programs for their students. Thus far, prevention through education is a void Rewrite Beautiful alone has had the programming, infrastructure and foresight to build.

We are proud to be a resource that will not simply educate and walk away, but one that empowers students, teaching them that prevention is in their hands through our Beautiful Action Campus Clubs. These clubs are a community for creativity, support and continued conversation to sustain the vision that eating disorders and mental health are NOT a taboo subject and that sustainable change is in the conversations and actions we make every day. 

Kindness…

Everyone on Rewrite Beautiful’s Board of Directors and committees are what I like to call, “hustlas!” They hustle with the anticipation that they are on the verge of a movement that must be shared in order to save lives that are currently in great despair. We continue to meticulously measure, evaluate and hone all aspects of our programming to ensure the transition from localized to national resource is grounded in a sturdy foundation of thoughtful analysis and pinned to strategic, demand-based goals. We have come a long way since standing in that baby girl’s nursery. 
As you learn more about Rewrite Beautiful, hear the stories of our students, review our financial reports and take a look at our small, but brilliant team, we hope that you see the VISION we see:

Strength…

That the time has come for mental illness to stop being a taboo subject. After all, one in four Americans struggle with depression. That the time has come for the epidemic of suicides and eating disorder deaths to stop. After all, eating disorders are the most deadly of all mental illnesses with deaths due to heart attack and suicide. That the time has come for the one third of the American population which is obese to start having the real conversation about emotional, compulsive overeating. After all, obesity is responsible for up to 30,000 deaths per year in the U.S. That the time has come for 42% of first through third grade girls to stop wanting to be thinner. After all there, there is a 119% increase in eating disorder related hospitalizations for children under 12. Our vision is to be able to continue looking into the eyes of students across the United States and say, “I’ve been there, I see you and it doesn’t have to be this way.” Rewriting is possible. 

You’re Beautiful, 

Irvina Kanarek,

Founder and Rewriter-In-Chief

*Executive Director 

Purchase Irvina's book, How To: Rewrite Beautiful HERE