With the new school year off to a start, its the perfect time to convey strategies for teaching about eating disorders, body image and self-esteem in all levels of schools.
Whether you are constructing ideas for new course material, leading workshops, after school programs, fundraising events or arranging your NEDAwareness 2012 programming, the below ideas are sure to offer a boost to every learning community.
Naturally, the best place to start is the library of information and resources at Gurze Books. Each book or DVD is screened by the founders of Gurze Publications (who are also Certified Eating Disorders Specialists). I assume that anyone who finds this blog post already knows about Gurze, but ... if not. That's the place to start -- and I won't even count it in the 20+ Ideas....
1. The NORMAL nonprofit offers a free 30 minute film called ED 101 which features commentary from Carolyn Costin, Dr. Kim Dennis, Dr. Laura Lees and hopeful stories of recovery along with performances from American Idol and Broadway stars. With a discussion panel of medical professionals this is a terrific program for high schools and universities. Find out how to get your FREE copy of the film and create a terrific seminar at http://www.normal-life.org/ED_101.php.
2. A great new documentary film called SOMEDAY MELISSA is available for purchase or for seminar screenings. This true story of Melissa Avrin's struggle with an eating disorder and is an effective way to educate about the complex issues that interrelate; including family biology that pre-disposes one to contract the illness, underlying depression (co-occurring illnesses) and a healthy outline of the warning signs.
3. In addition, NORMAL offers more than 9 ideas for NEDAwareness Programming (or regular educational programming) on this handy, interactive sheet. Just click on the various squares to find ideas for activities, workshops or for hosting large-scale events or seminars. Best of all, most of the ideas are arts based and appropriate for a wide range of students from grade school to grad school. On this you'll learn about:
4. Host a Mindfulness Workshop for Eating Disorder Recovery. This guidebook offers an array of practices, ideas and lessons.
5. Consider community events that engage and educate at the same time. Host a Poetry Concert of writing that offers refreshing perspectives on body image and acceptance. Create a Self Esteem Stomp to engage the entire community in learning about healthy coping through music, arts and yoga learning booths
learn more at SpeakingOutAboutEd.com
7. Accredited Online Colleges has released a fabulous article: 11 Important Ways Colleges are Fighting Eating Disorders. In this piece, creative and mindful activities are shared to help bridge the gap in learning.
8. For online resources, take a look at Beyond Blackboards "Student Bodies" program -- a computer-delivered, undergraduate level course exploring body image, eating problems, and social concepts of beauty in our culture. Developed through Stanford University, this seems to be a fabulous learning initiative.
9. Research has shown that kids need help learning to identify and express their feelings. Get a copy of this Rainbow of Feelings to display in your office or classroom and get students thinking about naming feelings other than "FAT" -- which is not a feeling.
10. Binge Eating Disorder Association's vast and fabulous Weight Bias Awareness educational information, inter-active tools and resources here. Fat Talk leads to body dissatisfaction, a known risk-factor for eating disorders. Learn more at BEDA website.
11. A presentation from Andrea's Voice Foundation will help audiences learn through poetry and heartfelt family journeys about the realities of eating disorders.
12. Inspire students in recovery to become a mentor at MentorConnect.
13. The Eating for Life Alliance has an incredible website with resources for speakers that are appropriate for college and university settings. Learn more at www.eatingforlife.org.
14. The Girls Leadership Institute offers programs in San Francisco, New York and Colorado for ages K-8. Learn more at http://www.girlsleadershipinstitute.org/
15. The National Association for Males with Eating Disorders offer helpful resources and qualified speakers to present in your school or university. Learn more at http://www.namedinc.org/resources.asp
16. Active Minds is a nonprofit organization on most university and college campuses that offers an array of engaging programs about all kinds of mental health topics. Learn how to start your own chapter or get involved at www.activeminds.org.
17. LETS Educational Foundation offers grants to start "erasing the stigma" in an array of school environments (they have programs for middle school through to university). Learn how to create your own stigma-erasing program today!
18. Jenni Schaefer is a speaker, singer, songwriter, advocate and author (have I missed anything??) -- her acclaimed book, "Life Without ED" offers unique insights into the world of eating disorders. Learn more about her CDs, books and presentations at http://www.jennischaefer.com/
19. Rachel Simmons is a sought-after speaker and presenter. The author of "Odd Girl Out" and other books, blogs and workshops, she offers great tips for girls on empowerment, body image and self-acceptance.
20. Dr. Laura Pinto offers grade schoolers a terrific book called "Beauty Fades, Smart is Forever" -- sure to inspire a discussion in your community.
21. Shannon Cutts is a well-known speaker and presenter. Learn more about her work at http://www.key-to-life.com/ktlweblinks/
22. Darryl Roberts has created two fabulous documentary films that outline eating disorders, the beauty industry and obesity and dieting epidemics. Learn more about hosting AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL in your community or booking Darryl as a speaker at http://americathebeautifuldoc.com/2/atb/the-thin-commandments/