Hello Beautiful, Be Amazing!
Author, speaker, and communications specialist Stacy-Ann Smith.

IMAGINE teenage girls frantically waving their hands, eager for a chance to answer questions in class, punctuated by rounds of applause for the speaker, absorbing the message of confidence and hope. It's not your typical classroom scene, but this has been the scenario at every school that author and speaker Stacy-Ann Smith has visited since the school year began in September. The communication specialist has been on a mission to inspire young women and girls to greater confidence with a dynamic speaker series she dubbed 'Hello Beautiful, Be Amazing'.

"This is about getting young ladies to first and foremost understand that they have inestimable value, that there is greatness on their inside, and engaging them in a way that is meaningful to them. So many of our girls and young women struggle with low esteem and we know how devastating that can be. If through this programme I can help change the mindset of one girl at every school, then I would have achieved my goal," said Smith, who has so far conducted sessions at four schools with more than 800 students between 13 and 19 years old.

With support from the VM Group, 'Hello Beautiful, Be Amazing' is also improving financial literacy among adolescent girls. "This is such a wonderful initiative that's giving these young ladies the tools they need for a great foundation. Financial literacy isn't taught in schools, but it's probably one of the most important areas of adult life that can determine your success. It's not just about saving and investing, it's about creating the right money mindset for growth and achieving financial well-being down the road," said Rezworth Burchenson, CEO of VM Wealth Management and VM Investments.

The sessions have also included focus on personal safety, presented by the Jamaica Constabulary Force's Social Media Manager Inspector Shaunjaye Mitchell, who covered physical safety and how to safely navigate the online space. The team has received excellent feedback from their presentations at Immaculate Conception High School, St Mary's College, St Andrew High School for Girls, and Wolmer's Girls' School, with two more schools scheduled before year end.

Author and speaker Stacy-Ann Smith engages a student of the St Andrew High School for Girls during her presentation entitled 'Hello Beautiful, Be Amazing', at the school recently. (Photo: Rahyme Mckenzie)

"In this post-COVID period, our students are struggling. Many of them suffer with low self-esteem, so they need the encouragement. They need the tools to help them cope with a changing world that is often very unkind to them. We really appreciate Miss Smith and the team. The girls were super excited about it and we're grateful for the support," said Diana Headlam-Wray, guidance counsellor at Wolmer's Girls' School in Kingston.

The series of school visits follows last year's launch of Smith's book, Time Does Not Heal, in which she shared her story of triumph over trauma; and encouraged women to actively pursue emotional healing and well-being to set themselves up for optimal living.

"I'm sharing lessons I learned with these girls so they can be better equipped for life. The fact of the matter is, most of us never learned key life skills in schools. We figured it out along the way if we were lucky. Things like managing your emotional well-being. Our young people need to know that seeking help for emotional and mental issues is normal and should be encouraged. This is what 'Hello Beautiful, Be Amazing' is all about — taking that message of victory and hope beyond the pages of the book. Our young women need to understand their worth and have the right information so they can make better decisions about their lives. They need to know what to do to stay safe. They need to understand how they can walk into their greatness," Smith stressed.

Students at St Mary's College are captivated by the message of hope delivered by author and speaker Stacy-Ann Smith as part of her 'Hello Beautiful, Be Amazing' school tour.
Author, speaker and communications specialist Stacy-Ann Smith engages her audience of students at Immaculate Conception High School.
Author, speaker, and communications specialist Stacy-Ann Smith.

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