Who We Are
Body Empowerment Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization established in 2021 to help empower youth to find body acceptance and self-worth. The organization works to prevent eating disorders in adolescents, specifically in populations that lack access to treatment and preventive care. Our primary goal is to reduce healthcare disparities and promote equitable access to a novel community health intervention.
Our mission is to decrease eating disorder risk in adolescents and equip them with the skills to live peacefully and healthfully in their bodies through meaningful, near-peer interactions.
Our vision is to fundamentally transform the way youth across the nation define their self-worth and shape discussions about health and wellness.
What We Do
Body Empowerment Project runs educational workshops for middle school, high school, and college students about body image and self-esteem in order to decrease eating disorder risk. The organization offers two main programs: Be Body Positive Philly targets marginalized youth in Philadelphia public schools while Be Body Positive Penn targets college students at the University of Pennsylvania.
The organization additionally works to promote eating disorder awareness and prevention by hosting professional trainings for teachers, nurses, and faculty from the Philadelphia school district. Through these trainings, we equip school faculty and staff with the skills to address body image and disordered eating concerns among their students.
Why We Do It
Eating disorders have the second-highest mortality rate of any mental illness in the United States, surpassed only by opioid addiction. Despite common stereotypes and misconceptions that portray eating disorders as a problem primarily for thin, white, affluent women, eating disorders actually affect people of any gender, race, age, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
The good news is that eating disorders are preventable. The Body Empowerment Project works to address eating disorder risk in youth by improving their body image and self-esteem, two major contributing factors in the development of these illnesses. By equipping students with the skills to talk about body image, health, and wellness, we are creating supportive communities of confident and capable young people.
Our co-founders, Amanda and Christina, met at the beginning of their freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania and quickly became friends. Since that time, they have been inseparable. Together, they spent 4 years contributing to eating disorder awareness and advocacy efforts on Penn’s campus through a club called Project HEAL. Amanda and Christina realized that raising funds to increase access to eating disorder treatment was important, but preventive interventions were equally, if not even more, necessary. As a result, the pair began working with key stakeholders in the Philadelphia community (nurses, teachers, principals, and students), eating disorder physicians and researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and community engagement experts at Penn to design a safe and effective intervention to decrease eating disorder risk in their own community.
In July of 2021, the Body Empowerment Project was officially incorporated into a non-profit organization to sustain their efforts for years to come. Outside of their role in the organization, this dynamic duo can be found cooking meals together as roommates, going on walks along the Schuylkill River trail, and having impromptu craft/game nights.