This blog series is a focus on people who are working to make a difference. Whether it be on the web or in their local community, by whatever means of action, and no matter what the initiative is, these individuals striving to make whatever change are not on all occasions acknowledged their goodwill and encouragement towards others.
Through these portraits, I intend to illustrate that whomever that is aspiring to make a difference, no matter how tiny, has the power to do so. These portraits will answer several questions, from the person’s own childhood dreams to the launch and subsequent success of her project.
CHELSIE PRINCE – FOUNDER OF PROUD & PRETTY IN PINK
CHELSIE PRINCE, writer and educator, is the founder of the non-profit organization Proud and Pretty in Pink aiming at empowering young women. The organization provides programs and workshops in the United States in order to educate girls on topics such as sexual health, body image and self-esteem. In December 2015, the organization obtained the 501c3 status.
I would like to thank Chelsie again for taking some time to answer my questions.
♢ In your early life, did you have any role models?
When I was young I don’t remember having a role model. I was an independent little girl who didn’t pay much attention to anyone around me other than my sister, mom and cousins.
♢ What were you biggest dreams and goals?
I had dreams of becoming a veterinarian. I was sure that was going to be my career path from the time I could talk about a job until about 8th grade. I found out that you had to put animals to sleep and I was totally done with my veterinarian dreams. Towards the end of high school I decided on physical therapy as a career and majored in Kinesiology- Exercise Science at California Polytechnic University Pomona. I wanted to help heal people who were injured. I wanted to get them back to their normal selves so that they could continue doing what they loved. Passion is a big deal to me and so many athletes are injured playing the sport they are so passionate about. Without it they feel like their lives are incomplete. I wanted to fix them.
♢ Does the career you actually pursued is related to these dreams and objectives?
During my last year of college I worked at the Health Center on campus as a peer health educator. It changed my mind once again about what I wanted to do with my life. Health education was my thing. I had been coaching cheerleading for about 3 years at that time and really wanted to help girls with the issues they face as teenagers. I changed my major to Health Promotion and spent one more year in college to finish all the additional coursework that came with me changing last minute. I became a sexual health peer educator and educated college women on birth control options. It became my passion and for my senior project I developed the curriculum for Proud & Pretty in Pink. After that I dedicated my life to educating girls on body image, self-esteem and sexual health.
♢ Was there any issue that particularly mattered to you? Have you eventually decided to shed some light on them?
Teen pregnancy is on the decline in the United States and a huge reason for that is education. But there has been an increase in the cases of the 3 most common STDs, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Syphilis, in recent years. Many teens are not as worried about the spread of STD’s as they are about pregnancy. Shows like Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant are said to be influencing girls in a positive way and helping with the decrease in teen pregnancy rates. But we aren’t talking enough about STDs. And statistics are proof of that. While we encourage birth control options and offer so many, we are not putting enough focus on the absolute need for condom use as condoms are the only option that protects against STDs.
Proud & Pretty in Pink focuses heavily on STD education and prevention. All our sexual health workshops give in depth detail about the subject and discussions around the problem are encouraged. We are definitely shedding light on the problem and the solution. Body Image and Self Esteem are also high on our list of issues that matter. We live in a world where perfection is idealized and imperfection is frowned upon. Girls are constantly trying to look like the women in the magazines and when they are unsuccessful the negative self-talk starts. Body image and self-esteem issues arise and for the rest of their lives they struggle with their bodies in some way or another. Proud & Pretty works to rationalize the media and body image. We educate girls on the positive and negative affects on body image. We breakdown the media’s influence and the bullshit behind it all.
♢ How did you chose to pursue this ambition?
I came up with Proud & Pretty in Pink while in my senior year of college. I was working at our Student Health Center and had to come up with a research idea for my senior project. I knew I wanted to research sexual health programs and during my brainstorming and research sessions I found that body image and self-esteem are directly correlated to a girl’s sexual debut. Negative body image and lower self esteem were contributing to girls having sex at a younger age. This was very interesting to me and I felt like I could do something about it. I wanted to provide girls the information they needed to feel good in their own skin which in turn would help them make better decisions regarding their bodies.
I held my first program after months of research and development. It was 7 hours and the girls loved it. I turned in my findings and received an A. I decided then that Proud & Pretty in Pink was needed in our community and I continued to build from there.
AN ACCOMPLISHED PROJECT
♢ How has the project evolved since then?
I’ve been running Proud & Pretty in Pink for the last 7 years and it definitely has not been easy. Marketing, business, networking, research, creating programs, meeting people and making sure to stay true to my original vision has been difficult. I’ve had people trying to pull us in different directions and I’ve been distracted by life. But the reason why I started this organization is still very much alive. Every time I’m asked to write about it or speak about it, my passion for this is renewed. I have been asked to speak at many events over the years and those experiences have helped me grow both personally and in business.
In 2015 we decided to turn Proud & Pretty into a 501c3 non-profit and that was one of the hardest processes to date. The paperwork was difficult and extensive. Many nights I cried while I sat at the table and tried to write down our financial projections. I’m an educator and thinking about the business side of things was really hard for me. But I finished that paperwork and we received our 501c3 status in December 2015. That day will always stand out to me as a new beginning for the organization that I built from nothing. We now have the same purpose with a different way of conveying our message.
♦︎ WHAT WOULD YOU TELL A YOUNG PERSON ASPIRING TO MAKE A CHANGE?
I would tell a young person who wants to make a change, that making any kind of change isn’t easy. It takes an incredible amount of work and set backs will be likely. But if your passionate about what you’re doing and if you really believe in the mission of your work then nothing can, or should, hold you back. You can create change and just how much is entirely up to you.
– Related: an old post of mine on the organization (and you can become an ambassador of PPP too!)
Bigs thanks to Chelsie for joining in this series!
Missed one post of the Making A Difference — Portrait series? Check it out now:
- Part 1: Dani DiPirro, the author & blogger behind ‘Positively Present’
- Part 3: Russell Lehmann, public speaker and autism advocate
- Part 4: Naomi Lea, mental health campaigner and volunteer
- Part 5: Carla, founder of Run The World Association