EmpowHER makes bead bracelets to promote mental health for athletes
The first day she and her daughters came together to make the mental health bracelets for athletes, Geanine Wester looked around and saw the smiles. She knew they had something special.
“They were beautiful, smiling, warm women and girls who shared their power in uplifting each other,” said Wester, president of EmpowHER of the Palm Beaches. “It was a beautiful time and I look forward to many days like this.”
EmpowHER, a West Palm Beach-based nonprofit, has partnered with the Junior League of the Palm Beaches to make wristbands for high school athletes in Palm Beach County to promote mental health awareness. .
Chakra bead healing bracelets have become the latest fashion trend for teens seeking healing and mental balance. After EmpowHER Girls’ Leadership Academy attendees discussed the idea, Wester scheduled a meeting on Saturday for EmpowHER board members and girls as well as the Junior League to get together. meet and make the bracelets.
“The experience has proven to be collaborative and restorative for all of us,” Wester said.
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The colors of the bracelets carry messages, with purple beads representing imagination and creativity, black beads for strength, green for growth and harmony, red for health and passion, white beads for a new beginning, blue for serenity and stability, orange for happiness and optimism, and yellow for happiness.
The group’s 1,000 handmade wristbands will be distributed to high school students with the help of athletic directors starting March 30.
“I was so pleased to share the Junior League of the Palm Beaches partnership with EmpowHER,” said Alexandra Chase, Junior League President. “The conversations that have opened up around mental health are so important, and I love that EmpowHER has chosen to reach student athletes with this project.”
The idea of targeting student-athletes developed during the 2020 Olympics when Simone Biles retired from competition. His was the latest case of professional or Olympic athletes going public with their mental health issues. Tennis star Naomi Osaka faced a long bout of depression and stayed away from press pressure. Swimmer Michael Phelps suffered from depression and anxiety.
“We often see our athletes as invincible and with everything that’s happened it’s suddenly become clear that ‘it’s okay not to be okay,'” Wester said. “It made a lot of us admit that we felt the same way, and it proved that we are human and need to be gentle with ourselves and each other.”
Wester hopes the bracelets will inspire athletes to talk about their feelings of inadequacy or added pressure to compete.
“This project means a lot to me,” Wester said. “Over the past two years, I have learned that tomorrow is not promised to anyone. I had to pivot, I was reminded how important it is to foster a meaningful and useful village of friendship and brotherhood.
Wristbands should reach at least two schools in each region of the county.
“The teenage years can be so difficult to navigate, and the sport serves as an outlet and a sanctuary,” Chase said. “I hope this project will help inspire student-athletes to maintain their participation in sports as a safe place and alleviate some of the mental damage caused by the pressure that can accompany sports participation.”
EmpowHER’s mission is to connect with women and girls; regain strength of character, leadership; and to influence and transform political, business and power structures within the community.
EmpowHER has carried out advocacy projects in recent years, including providing 2,500 socks to the Homeless Coalition of Palm Beach County, comforting toys to the Center for Child Counseling in Palm Beach Gardens, and welcome kits with toiletries in as part of the 100-day challenge to house 100 young people in 100 days.
The organization is accepting applications for its 2022-23 Leadership Academy for Girls, beginning May 1. For more information, visit www.empowherofthepalmbeaches.org.
“I encourage school guidance counselors, parents, and junior and senior high school girls to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity,” Wester said.
The Junior League of the Palm Beaches is an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing women’s potential, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. The website is www.jlpb.org.