The Value of Empowerment

In today’s society it is not rare to see the paramount topics of teen violence and sexual assault be narrowly avoided in mainstream media. Due to this precarious neglect, it can be difficult for young women and girls to speak out about any troubling situations which they may find themselves in. This is where Love ‘n Me comes in.

Our goal is not only to address topics such as this one with direct counseling with girls, but to expand their knowledge on these issues of utmost importance and bring them greater comfort in doing so.

In addition to rather hot-button issues such as sexual assault, support groups often hold discussions in the realms of family problems, abuse, bullying, and LGBTQ lifestyles among many other things.

We hope that through aiding young women in their journeys of self-discovery and growth in self-esteem, that we will be contributing to them living with much healthier perspectives and personalities.

Furthermore, another crucial part of Love ‘n Me’s efforts in furthering the cause is through our Development Workshop. Here we truly work to build up young girls into the women they have the potential to become. Not only do work hard to foster confidence and self-dependence, but we encourage meaningful discussion in order to broaden the horizons of these developing minds.

After all, the greatest power in our society comes from growth in thought and this strength is derived from the power of communication with others. Here at Love ‘n me we hope to grow this ideology and help as many young women as we can while doing so.

-Shivali Baveja

#internationalwomensday#

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day! This is a time of celebration for women all around the world, in recognition of women’s rights and all we have achieved as women and strive to achieve.

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The first public demonstration of women’s rights was held March 8, 1914, when a throng of women marched in London in support of the women’s suffrage movement.  Since then, women across the globe have fought valiantly and won their rights, both professional and personal, spanning a century:

  • the right to vote
  • have equal access to job postings
  • marry a foreigner and keep your citizenship
  • have equal pay to a man in the same line of work
  • seek damages for sexual harrassment
  • address sexism and racism on a national scale
  • serve in the armed forces in any role
  • be granted paid maternity leave

These are just a few of the multitude of rights that women have stood up for and won.  I celebrate all women for International Women’s Day!  Be proud, be strong, and be brave as your embrace your inner tigress!

 

#stopdomesticviolence#

Domestic violence – the issue that is swept under the rug for millions of people nationwide in the privacy of their own homes. Yet, every 20 minutes in the United States, someone is physically abused by his or her intimate partner. Every nine seconds, a woman is beaten or assaulted. One in three women have been a victim of domestic violence in their lifetime.  Everyday on average, three homicides occur from a woman being killed by her intimate partner.

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Domestic violence does not always appear in the beginning of a relationship. Instead, it gradually starts and tends to worsen over time.  If you experience any of these signs in your partner, know that it is not okay!

Signs of Domestic Violence

  • Insults you, puts you down, calls you names
  • Keeps you from seeing family or friends or tries to keep you from them
  • Acts controlling by telling you how to spend your money, where to go, or what to wear
  • Becomes jealous and overprotective of you and gives false threats
  • Becomes angry when abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Threatens to hurt you physically or with a weapon
  • Hits, kicks, shoves, slaps, chokes or otherwise hurts you, your children or your pets
  • Blames you for his or her wrong actions, makes you feel false guilt, or tells you that you deserve it
  • Blames you for his or her violent behavior or tells you that you deserve it
  • Shoves, kicks, hits, slaps, punches, chokes you (or those who live with you – children or pets)
  • Forces you to engage in sex and/or sexual acts without your consent

An abuser may initially apologize for their actions and try to win your forgiveness by apologizing, making false promises to change their behavior, and giving gifts.

Do not stay silent – you deserve to be free from the cycle of abuse. If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse, or has been abused in the past, Love N Me is here to help! Call our 24-hour hotline at 510-265-0583.  Love N Me provides counseling, support groups, and other services. Please visit our website at www.lovenme.org.

Sources:

http://ncadv.org/learn-more/statistics

http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/relationships/a37005/statistics-about-domestic-violence/

Questions to Ask Yourself in Determining Good Friendships

When I was in middle school, I desperately wanted to be part of the popular crowd.  I had the sense that if I only befriended a popular girl, then I would be better for it, and happier.  I would belong.   However, I felt out of place, as I had a severe hearing loss, and although hearing aids helped to an extent, I missed out on a lot of conversations.

I found my chance to fit in on my soccer team, where one preppy girl started inviting me to hang out with her. Carmen* was always seen with the preppy group, which also involved the popular girls and cute jocks.  She had a boyfriend on the basketball team – a star player that all the girls swooned over.  She was pretty, with long brown hair and brand name clothes, and she lived with her family in one of the upscale neighborhoods in town.

I remember when she first invited me to the popular table.  I was so excited and nervous – but tried to act calm.  “Come sit with us!” she called out and I came and sat down, clutching my brown lunch bag with my mom’s writing scrawled on the outside.

The girls started gossiping and talking loudly.in the crowded cafeteria.  Carmen asked me a question and over the din of the noise, I could not understand her. I asked her what she said. “What?” she replied back boldly, sarcastically.  “What?” she said again, a devious smile playing on her lips.  Embarrassed, I uttered a fake laugh, trying to laugh at the fact that I could not understand her.  The girls at the table snickered as well.   It was humiliating on the inside, but I did my best to appear calm on the outside, wanting to be with the in crowd.  Internally, though I wondered if Carmen truly was a friend to me.

I thought that by pretending to be someone I wasn’t, that I would be more accepted, more well liked, more popular.  However, that was not the case for me – Carmen’s mean sarcasm was just one of many instances of her pettiness, and by end of first semester of seventh grade, I could no longer be friends with her.

Since that time, I have learned a lot about what the qualities to look for in someone to determine whether they can be a good friend.  It is important for young girls and women to have a friend they can trust and confide in.  I am privileged to now have a best friend that I met in college that exemplifies the traits of what friendship truly means.

Below, here are some traits of a good friend.  If you ever think about someone who you want to get to know better, look for these things that may determine their friendship potential.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are they trustworthy?
  • Are they reliable?
  • Are they honest with you and others?
  • Are they non-judgmental of you and others?
  • Are they responsible?
  • Do they listen well?
  • Do they support you in your choices, views, dreams?
  • Do they stick around when things get tough?
  • Are they confident in themselves?
  • Are there things you both have in common that you like to do?
  • Do they appear empathetic to you and others?
  • Do they avoid gossip about people you know and care about?
  • Do they have a sense of humor?
  • Do they bring out the best in you as a person and friend?
  • Are they fun to be around? Do you enjoy hanging out with them?

These are just a few things to consider when you decide you want to get to know someone on a deeper level of friendship.  Avoid the Carmens” of the world and find the friend that makes your life better because they are in it!

**Names have been changed to protect privacy**

Written by Anna R.

 

Loving Yourself – LovenMe

At LovenMe, our mission is ultimately about  loving yourselves as women and providing resources to help you achieve your dreams, reach goals, develop healthy relationships and tools for success, and to live fulfilling lives.

At LovenMe, the goal is to empower young girls and women to find strength to get up in the face of life’s challenges and disappointments – whether it is a struggle with addiction, educational setbacks, abuse from a partner, identity issues, relationship problems, or financial woes.  The end goal is to see each of you rise to these challenges and say “I love myself!” and genuinely mean it.  Your worth is not defined by your struggles, mistakes, or by your past.  It is not defined by what you do or do not have.  It is defined by who you are as a person and that you are special and you matter.

What does it mean to love yourself? I see the potential for every young girl and every woman- to become better, happier, and whole, to live a life with meaning and purpose, always looking towards a future of positive change that we can choose to write in our life stories.

Everyday we are given, we have a choice on how we are going to live our lives, how we are going to treat others, and how we are going to approach life.  Have you ever seen that classic show “I Love Lucy”? The actress, Lucille Ball once said, “I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line.” That statement exudes empowerment and a positive attitude and I have faith that we are all capable of becoming the best version of ourselves that we can be, no matter what obstacles come our way.

LovenMe offers counseling, support groups, career coaches, life coaches, and educational assistance to women.  We also offer classes on parenting, anger management, and domestic violence recovery.  You can go to our website. Lovenme.org to learn more or also contact me (Unique) at (510) 265-0583 or info@lovenme.org for any questions or concerns.

The Inspiring Message of Judy Garland

Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

– Judy Garland

Judy Garland was an American actress and singer, who began her acting career as a teenager in the 1930’s with MGM and won a starring role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz in 1939.  She also went on to star in other films as well, including Meet Me in St. Louis, The Harvey Girls, and Easter Parade.  Additionally, she worked as a recording artist and television host and won several cinema awards, including the Golden Globe Award and Special Tony Award.

From all of this success, you may think Garland had it easy being in the entertainment industry – where wealth and fame abound.  Yet, her biography shows a darker side to the perception of a  glamorous Hollywood life.

Born in 1922, Garland’s childhood roots were in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  She had two sisters and her parents were vaudevillians of a movie theater in town.  By 1926, the family moved to Lancaster California. At the age of 13, she was discovered by studio producers when she and her sisters were performing a vaudeville act at a Los Angeles theater.  Garland then signed a contract with MGM, but discovered the pressures of fame quickly.  Her appearance was widely criticized there, for she did not have what studio executives viewed as the appropriate stature nor stunning features of leading actresses at that time. At 4’11 with the “girl next door” look, she received a lot of backlash.  This negative perception prompted Garland to see psychiatric help.

Not only did Garland struggle with her appearance, she also was financially unstable, failing to pay back taxes.  She went through several failed marriages, struggled with an addiction to drugs, and eventually died from an overdose at age 47,

The quote Garland states, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else” hints at the hidden pain and suffering she may have dealt with at never being “good enough” in her appearance at work, always competing to stay ahead of the rest, and make a name for herself.  Despite the odds she faced, I feel that Garland was sending a message to women everywhere that still resonates today – to always be true to yourself and to never let anyone force you to change what makes you uniquely you. Love yourself first instead of changing yourself to be loved by someone else.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Garland

http://www.biography.com/people/judy-garland-9306838

#allthesingleladies#

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and for many, love is in the air.

But what about the rest of us women who are single? Where do we fit into the picture? Where is our happy ending on Valentine’s Day?

We’ve all been there – wondering when our soulmate will show up, beating ourselves up mentally for the ones we’ve fallen for and didn’t end up too great, pining for the one that got away, or just wishing we did not have to be alone.  Take heart and know that your worth is not defined by your relationship status – that your life matters.

Here are some tips to love yourself as a single woman.

      1. Remember that you are special – your personality, gifts, traits, are unique – share who you are with the people that you do have in your life – family, friends, coworkers, support groups, social groups,  neighbors – anyone in your life that you enjoy spending time with.
      2. Your worth is not in whether you are single or not – it is in who you are as a person and you are a WHOLE person no matter your relationship status.  You have the freedom to do the things you love, activities or causes to take part in, without time constraints that being in a relationship brings.  Use your singleness as an opportunity to pursue your own goals for your life, whether personally or professionally.
      3. Push yourself to try new things. Expand your interests, try a new hobby, take a class, learn a new language, or take a vacation with your girlfriends.
      4. Be thankful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you do not have.
      5. Focus on improving yourself in the areas of the life you need to work on, whether it is mending relationships with others, overcoming a bad habit or addiction, setting a new health goal, or tackling a new year’s resolution.

Embrace yourself as a single woman and accept this season of life that you are in. It’s time to break out and dance with your girlfriends to “All the Single Ladies” by Beyonce!

#Teen Violence

Teen violence refers to harmful behaviors that can start early and continue into young adulthood. The young person can be a victim, an offender, or a witness to the violence. Violent acts can include. Bullying. Fighting, including punching, kicking, slapping, or hitting.

Nearly 60 percent of all young women have experienced abuse: 29 percent of women surveyed said they’d been in an abusive relationship. 62 percent of those women have been hit, shoved, or slapped. 11 percent of those who say their partner is currently abusive predict he “will seriously hurt or kill me.”

One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, a figure that far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence. One in 10 high school students has been purposefully hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you are experiencing any type of abuse contact Love n Me or your local police department.

Tips for Parents

  • Start talking about ways to reduce or eliminate violence.
    1. Team up with other parents and get involved in your community; join your neighbors in activities to reduce violence.
    2. Talk to your teen about ways to solve arguments and fights without weapons or violence.
    3. Advise your teen to talk to you or a trusted adult to avoid potentially violent situations.
    4. If you suspect a problem with your teen, start talking about it.
  • Please visit our website at www.lovenmeorg
  • #teengirls #Younggirls #girlsinmiddleschool #girlsinhighschool #parents #schools
  • http://loveourchildrenusa.org/parent_preventteenviolence.php

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I came to Love n Me because I was depressed

“I came to Love n Me because I was depressed and had low self-esteem. I felt like a failure because I was overweight and never achieved anything. Love n Me taught me to love myself. My confidence is high and I accomplished some goals. I now have a good job at Kaiser, thanks to Love n Me. I feel so good about myself now and love who I am.”

– Kim W., Oakland, CA

I went to Love n Me for some anger management classes

“I went to Love n Me for some anger management classes and personal counseling for 6 months. They really helped me! The CEO (Unique) is really nice, down to earth, and very laid back. She made it very easy to speak about sensitive matters. She’s very caring and compassionate! Excellent service.”

– Javon M., Hayward, CA