After our programs students report they are more confident in approaching a friend struggling with an eating disorder and connecting them with resources for help.
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
Today we worked with clients and parents at Center For Discovery in Newport Beach, an eating disorder rehab specializing in treatment for those 18 years old and younger. It's a privilege to play a part in helping people rewrite their stories. A special thanks to our supporters who make this work possible and to the clinicians working day in and day out against this disease.
The cost for today's program at Girls Inc. of Orange County was completely covered by our supporter, Danise Otis. Last year Danise organized her own fundraiser in order to support our eating disorder prevention work. A great reminder that it doesn't matter if you are young, old, rich or poor, a little creativity goes a long way!
Today, Rewrite Beautiful prevented (and stopped) eating disorders with over 250 students! Great meeting you Talbert Middle School and counselor, Mrs.Nicole!
Today we worked with the 6th, 7th and 8th graders at Masuda Middle School! All 900 of these beautiful students rewrote the old cookie cutter idea of beauty into actions; creativity, kindness and strength! Thank you all for helping carry this message to the next generation of kids! You're going to make amazing role models!