Self-Esteem & Long Beach

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My favorite Saturday of the year is coming up this weekend — Especially Me Super Saturday! This is a special day when I (along with about 25 other trained volunteers) get to teach a group of wonderful 5th grade ladies in Long Beach the skills they need to be happy and confident, to make good decisions, to be assertive, to express themselves, and to have a strong sense of self. The goal being to instill the idea in each young lady that she is unique and special. That she can take control of her life. How we do this? By providing tools to build and maintain self-esteem, providing correct information about the body, providing decision-making skills, and helping to set meaningful goals. I am counting down the days until I get to have my classroom of girls and we get to have open conversations about what we believe and are experiencing, and I get to share advice and input from my life growing up.

I think back to when I was in 5th grade and I wish I would have had a safe environment to discuss these thoughts, doubts and changes I was experiencing. What’s so cool, too, is that we are building this support system through The Confidence Post and through our community events, such as Especially Me! and Confidence & Me. Confidence & Me – A Toolkit for Empowering To-Be-Teens is our new self-esteem and bullying prevention programming in the Long Beach community put on by the Junior League of Long Beach. These self-esteem & bullying prevention events are kicking off this Spring and the events will focus on boys and girls in 5th through 8th grade (caregivers also are encouraged to participate) and are designed so attendees can participate throughout their middle school experience. Our hope is to develop ongoing relationships and interactions with students throughout their journey during these formative years, providing a toolkit of resources, knowledge and skills.

I encourage you and any others you know that could benefit from our in-person programs to get in touch with us, whether it’s through contacting us on this blog or emailing us at community@jllb.org. Whether you are experiencing this as a student, or if you have a loved one who is in 5-8th grade, please share this! It is so important that we take care of each other as a community and be each other’s support systems. There never can be too much support and knowledge!

-Alex W.

“What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

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I can’t tell you how many times this past week I have heard people say “I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. It’s a corporate holiday designed to make people buy things they don’t need.” While I do not disagree with that statement, I also think that Valentine’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to both share and feel love in a way that we might overlook in our day to day.

Our society today is all about doing more with less. I have two phones, multiple responsibilities, an active social life, a demanding job, and just like so many of us, I often overlook the small things in my daily life. I love my partner, my friends and my family, but I frequently forget to take the time to show all of them how I feel. So many of us focus on Valentine’s Day as being a day to show romantic love, but I think it is a fantastic reminder to all of us to slow down, and for one day express our feelings to all of those that we love. It might be a simple phone call to a parent, or a letter to a friend, but those little moments are often forgotten,  yet important reminders of how special love is. So on Valentine’s Day, I chose to celebrate love.

I am lucky to love and be loved by so many amazing people, and I embrace Valentine’s Day as the opportunity to get gushy and talk about it.  No, I didn’t buy any heart shaped candy boxes or teddy bears, but I did take the time to reflect on the love that I am surrounded by, and to express my gratitude for it. I’m grateful for the chance to be reminded to say  “I love you,” and as a result, I look forward to many Valentine’s Days to come.

-Marceil V.

Before You Speak… THINK!

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A fearless female leader I look up to shared this image on her social media this morning, and I felt the need to now share with our Confidence Post community. It is so short but sweet! Whether you are in the 5th grade, in your 30s, or a grandma or grandpa, I think we all can be reminded and learn a lesson from the T.H.I.N.K. acronym. Words are so powerful and we don’t even know how much power (not necessarily in a good way) we have through the things we say. Our words have the potential to lift someone up or tear someone down. Let’s all pledge to be part of the first group — those community members who lift each other up whether in our classroom, after school, at work, in our groups of friends and peers, and at home. I know it requires us to slow down just a little, but please think before you speak and be thoughtful with your words!

Is what you’re saying true?

Is it helpful?

Is it inspiring?

Is it necessary?

…and most importantly, Is it kind?

With gratitude for all of you,

Alex W.

Make A Healthy Lifestyle Choice: Drink Your Veggies!

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If you want to feel good about yourself, you must take care of yourself.  Luckily, there are so many simple ways to take care of oneself, such as: getting more rest, exercising, learning a new skill, sharing your feelings with someone, and making better food and beverage choices. The last example is perhaps the easiest – especially when there are SO many healthy and delicious options out there. But where to start?

For me, fresh fruit and veggie juice concoctions is a motivating and satisfying way to ensure I get loads of nutrients in my daily diet. I even share my juice creations with my sometimes-picky toddler, who has no clue he’s drinking his greens! Please note: It is recommended that toddlers and young children have fresh juice watered down a bit due to acidity levels in certain produce.

There are many great “juice bars” popping up in towns across the country, but if you’d rather invest in your own juicer, so you can save money and make your own nutritious and delicious mixes, here are a few key pointers:

  • When making your own juice at home, be sure to wash produce thoroughly, and keep protein-rich skins when juicing produce like apples, sweet potatoes, and pears
  • Try to strike a good balance between fruits and veggies, perhaps even try to include more veggies than fruits in your concoction–this will help reduce sugar intake, and give you the most sustainable energy for the day.
  • It is recommended you drink your juice at room temperature, and within an hour for maximum nutritional benefit
  • It is also recommended to sip juice slowly! Swish it around in your mouth, and savor the nutrients. It is said that this will keep you satisfied longer, plus, keep you from getting any sudden cramp or belly ache (if your body digests the produce too fast).

EASY at-home juice combos
Through my brief at-home juice experimentation, I have come up with a few staple recipes. I even named them! All you have to do, is wash produce thoroughly, chop into pieces safe for your juicer, and start juicing! Remember: sipping at room temperature is best, but be sure to store remaining juice in the fridge for later.

  1. Serene Citrus Green– apples, kale, spinach, celery, mandarins, and carrots

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  1. Berry Green Apple– strawberries, blueberries, grapes, celery, spinach, kale, and applesberryapplegreen
  1. Green Carrot Pear-adise– spinach, kale, celery, pears, and carrots
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Want to learn more about making healthy lifestyle choices?
Join the Junior League of Long Beach, and over 1,500 participants on Saturday, March 7th for its 10th annual Kids In The Kitchen healthy eating and exercise fair! Click the link above for more info about this FREE and fun event for the entire family.

-Lauren T.