Typically when I walk into the Barclays center, I’m headed to a NY Liberty game, but last week I slipped into the “executive entrance” on a Friday afternoon with a heart full of gratitude, ready to give back.
If you read my March Journal, you’ll remember that I’ve been asking God for opportunities to mentor young girls. So, when the brooklynnets invited me to lead a body positivity workshop for the girls from powerplaynyc at the Barclays Center, it was truly an answered prayer. It feels so good to bring my “don’t wait on your weight”, message to a new generation of young girls.
What is Power Play NYC?
According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, two of the most significant reasons that girls do not participate in sports are lack of encouragement and lack of opportunity. Often, girls are almost two years behind boys in motor skill development, in part because of their lack of opportunity to play sports. PowerPlay programming focuses on teaching girls fundamental skills in a variety of sports so they become confident in their athletic abilities and enjoy playing.
The PowerPlay program setting also provides a safe space for expression and discussion, creating an optimal environment for health, wellness and life skills learning activities. African-American girls participate in sport at the lowest rates, and this contributes to the lack of women of color in leadership and coaching. Click Here to learn more about Power Play NYC
How to Teach Body Positivity to Young Girls
I was so impressed by this group of girls. They trusted me enough to articulate their feelings of body insecurity to me, like “sometimes I feel like I’m too fat…” and “sometimes I feel like I’m too skinny…”. They were also the first to hype each other up, “you’re pretty!”, “you’re a good singer!” and they were open to celebrating what our bodies can do through Joyful Movement. In my own life, finding body positivity and self love has been all about taking action and doing things. It’s easy to spend so much time in my head paralyzed by feelings of being “too much” or “not enough”, but I find that when I just step out of my comfort zone and try something, I fall in love with my body as I discover what feels good to me. I wanted to bring some of that energy to my body positive session with these sweet baby dolls, so we did a Joyful Movement session.
What is Joyful Movement?
Joyful movement refers to physical activity that is chosen and enjoyed for the pleasure and benefits it brings, rather than for the sole purpose of burning calories or changing one’s body shape. It emphasizes the positive feelings and sensations that arise from moving one’s body in a way that feels good and nourishing, rather than focusing on strict exercise goals or rules. In the spirit of Joyful Movement, I asked these smart, talented, insightful, beautiful baby dolls to help me create a “tik tok dance”. I gave them the first “eight counts” and let them use their creativity to make up the rest. They made me PROMISE to post videos of us doing the dance to my Instagram and TikTok. There are quite a few videos but every girl who was brave enough to dance deserves her shine. So if you see our dances on my instagram, please show the baby dolls some love in the comments— they were very clear with me that they will be watching, haha!
Why is Body Care Important for Young Girls?
My mother taught me how to create my personal body care routine at a young age and it’s been foundational to my confidence as a woman. As founder of Cocoa by CeCe, I believe that teaching young girls to prioritize body care, such as engaging in joyful movement, eating supportive foods and taking time to cleanse, moisturize, and nourish the skin, hair, and nails, can help them develop a positive relationship with their bodies, leading to increased confidence, self-esteem, and body acceptance. It can also promote a healthy lifestyle and a sense of empowerment over their own health and well-being. It feels so good to be able to lavish young girls with treats from Cocoa by CeCe.
To whom much is given, much is required. Being able to take a Friday afternoon and give back to the youth in my community is a luxury that I don’t take for granted. I feel so grateful.