Release the beast.
This is the three-word motto of a woman who has been through bullying, physical abuse, eating disorders and more but overcame it all and now uses her experiences to empower and inspire teenage girls.
“I’ve literally gone through everything that could’ve possibly taken someone down," says Akilah C. Thompson,founder of ACT Inspires Inc. “As a teenager, I had to learn how to survive by believing in myself, by learning how to find value and build confidence."
She adds, "And that’s what I want to be able to give future generations.”
So “release the beast” is exactly what Thompson did to fuel her organization's six-week I AM B.E.A.U.T.Y. boot camp program.
“In the word 'beast,' is the word 'best,'” says Thompson, “and how you find your best, is by bringing your A-game, which is the other letter in the word.”
According to Thompson, while younger generations focus on what they see on T.V. and in the media, they lose sight sight of positive role models and believing in their dreams.
I AM B.E.A.U.T.Y, stands for beautiful, extraordinary, ambitious, unlimited, talented and young. The program will strive to teach young girls how to appropriately use social media and encourage them to follow positive figures.
Empowering programs focus on goal setting, vision boards and career awareness. A “Girl Talk” segment allows the girls to anonymously ask questions.
During Thompson’s rough teenage years, she says she went through a rebellious stage where she was fighting and getting suspended in school, cutting classes, stealing and smoking.
“I had very rough teenage years,” Thompson says, “and it wasn’t until my high school years when I realized that a lot of what I was going through with rebellion was because I didn’t really believe in my abilities and didn’t have much self value."
After that, she says, her attitude changed.
“I wanted to create a vehicle in which people like myself, can relate to these at-risk teenagers,” Thompson says. “We can reach back to them and relate to them and convert them and really show them the right way and how they can really do things for the better and achieve their full potential."
She adds, “We want to help them really love who they are, to believe and to be able to equip them with the tools they need to accomplish their dream."
If you go
Registration open through July 12
Omnia Vanitas, 778 Merrick Rd., Baldwin, N.Y.
Every Sunday from July 14 through Aug. 18., 3 to 6 p.m.
$150.00 for full six weeks