Cyn and I are excited to introduce you to Sand Sisters Los Angeles. Sand Sisters is a youth empowerment nonprofit designed to give girls the tools to build a strong sense of self. Co-founders Tedi and Sonya, are here to share tools on how we can support and empower the tween girls in our lives.
Britt + Cyn
We all had our version of the plastic and phony Regina George who ruled the lunch room, the rebel who secretly slinked away to visit her college boyfriend during 4th period and that one hot history teacher who inappropriately danced along the line of flirtation. We know we’re not alone when we say our coming of age years were filled with confusion, comparison and teenage angst. Think back to your own transformative years. Do you remember what and who was important to you? For us, Tedi and Sonya Serge, Co-Founders of Sand Sisters Los Angeles, our worlds revolved around other people, what they thought about us and how we fit into the mix.
Having a sense of belonging is a common desire among all humans, and at times the need to feel accepted and valued makes adolescents magnify their experiences. A snarky comment about your leggings, not being picked for the varsity basketball team or having a friend suddenly ignore you are all examples of common issues that seem earth shattering. It is a little easier to process and resolve these types of experiences as adults, but if girls aren’t taught the tools to manage their emotions and believe in their own capabilities, they can derail themselves with patterns of negative self-talk, low self-esteem and get themselves into unwanted situations.
Self-esteem is an important determinant of mental and physical development. According to DoSomething.org, 7 out of 10 girls believe they are not good enough, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family. Growing up, Tedi experienced low self-esteem in large groups of people and when boys entered social settings. I experienced low self-esteem because there was lack of communication from adults in my life. While physically changing from girls to young women, no one talked to us about how to process our emotions, deal with societal pressures or create value in being unique.
As adults, we both worked on our personal development in different ways. Tedi started to travel and challenge herself physically through new sports, surfing and running. I dove into a solid yoga practice and left the corporate job that put me in an unhealthy box. Through our 20’s we searched for who we are as adult women and started to heal. We realized we had lost what made us sparkle at such a young age. We lost what made us authentic and different. What would it have been like if someone said, “Hey Serge Sisters, you both stand out and here is why! You’re both awesome humans with good grades, loyal friends, great athletes, you’re honest, you’re lovable, you’re creative and you’re connectors” instead of, “you hippies from California,” “whoa, you’re tall,” “you’re loud,” “you didn’t win that race,” “you’re fat,” etc.
Once we started changing our perspective as adults, we realized our calling was to become the people we needed when we were younger. And alas, in 2012 Sand Sisters Los Angeles was born. Sand Sisters LA is a youth empowerment nonprofit designed to give girls the tools to build a strong sense of self. Our mission is for all girls to feel seen, valued and heard.™
Girl Empowerment Tools
1. Create one-on-one time.
Children are affected by how much they feel accepted, liked and loved by adults. Parents, educators and mentors should carve out quality time for their girls to be able to open up and talk on a deeper level. Create a routine time to talk and share with one another. It will create a close bond and let the special girl in your life know they consistently have someone in their corner to talk to. This time should be non-negotiable, on the calendar daily or weekly. Show up for your girl.
2. Show nonverbal and verbal confidence.
So much of your child’s confidence and self-worth is a mirror of your own confidence and actions. We constantly have moms come up to us and say they wish they had a program like Sand Sisters when they were growing up. Don’t let your daughter hear self-deprecating talk, see you compare yourself to other women or witness you making yourself small, when they can witness you being strong, confident and in charge. If you want your daughter to try new things to build her confidence then lead by example. Put yourself out of your comfort zone. Join a new club, sign up for a 5k, go ziplining on your next family vacation. Show her THIS is what it’s like to be confident! Flex those self-care muscles as a mom. You won’t regret it.
3. Look for qualified after school programs.
It takes a village to raise a child into a well balanced adult. If you are a parent, take some of the pressure off of your shoulders by finding a cool after school enrichment program (like Sand Sisters, cough, cough) to be a safe space for your daughter. In our 10 week #GirlPowerful class, girls share on a deeper level and form a sisterhood. For many girls we stay in their lives after our session is over. Girls seek us out when they know we are on campus. They continue to keep in contact with us after they go to high school. They call and email us to celebrate big and small victories….class president, water polo team, winning a soccer game, etc. We are their biggest cheerleaders. Seek out potential mentors in your community and foster your daughter’s relationships with strong women.
4. Teach your daughter to go for it!
We’ve mentored over 700 girls in the Los Angeles area and we find that girls strive for perfection. They don’t raise their hands in class because they are afraid other people will think they are stupid if they answer wrong or they don’t try out for a sports or dance team because none of their friends are trying out and that can turn into not taking chances in adulthood.
Now is the time to have our girls be trailblazers and go for what they want without having fear, self-doubt or gender get in the way. Now you might be wondering how can you can get involved in the Sand Sisters LA non-profit?
Sonya + Tedi Serge
Connect with us online. Instagram/FB/Twitter @sandsistersla
Read more about us at www.sandsistersla.com regarding tween workshops, after school programs and Self Love Club for women.
The Sweet Life by Brittany + Cynthia Daniel