Bed-Stuy Girls Create Mobile App to Help Boost Self-Esteem

By Paul DeBenedetto on February 20, 2014 10:37am 

My Sister's Keeper
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DIVAS For Social Justice

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A new smartphone app designed by and targeted at young girls of color aims to help boost their self esteem.

My Sister's Keeper, designed in part by girls from the DIVAS For Social Justice science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics camp in Bed-Stuy, will offer advice to girls who may not have a support system at home, said DIVAS Executive Director Clarisa James.

"They need someone to turn to," James said. "You realize how lucky you are, when you get older, to have a mother in your life that cares."

The app, which will be released at the end of March for all smart phone operating systems, features videos of girls asking questions on a range of topics like self love, family relationships and colorism — the idea that women with certain skin tones are more desirable than others.

After the girls ask the question, each video cuts to a woman who gives an answer.

For example, in one video a group of girls asked the simple question, "how do I love myself?"

"Stand in front of a mirror and really take a good honest look at yourself, and see the perfection of how you were wonderfully made," replied a woman.

"You can appreciate yourself, even if no one else does," said another. "You do this really well, and you're good at it, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks."

The idea came in part from a photography project the group worked on called "Imagining Ourselves," which focuses on representations of women of color in the media.

The initial launch will feature pre-loaded videos, but the group hopes to eventually launch a feature where girls can submit new questions. They recently started a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds.

The hope is that the affirmations will help with the everyday issues of being a young girl.

"They need someone to turn to," James said.

"I don't think an app can replace a mother's love, but if your app can bring some comfort to girls who don't have something in their lives, then it's almost like a small start."

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