Abigail Mueller, 16, of St. Louis, Missouri, a junior at Whitfield School, created a self-image education and mentoring program that includes live presentations, an educational website, volunteering for Girls on the Run, and writing articles for an internet safety organization about being authentic on social media. One day, Abbie heard a friend complain about looking fat. “It dawned on me that I was guilty of using that kind of self-defeating language, too, as I struggled with my own weight and self-image,” she said. As she embarked on a daily exercise and nutrition regimen, Abbie realized she also needed “to drop the negative internal and external talk.” Her change in attitude had so many positive effects on her life that Abbie decided to use her personal experience to help others.
For the past four years, Abbie has been developing and managing a program she calls “Self-ValYOU: Promoting Positive Personal Imagery.” She has spoken to elementary and middle school classes, adult support groups and Girl Scout troops, using a PowerPoint presentation and distributing bookmarks she designed with reminders about positive self- and body-image tools. She created a website featuring a blog and interviews discussing body and self-image. She also volunteers to help with Girls on the Run, a national organization focused on boosting the confidence of young girls, by helping with paperwork, fundraising and personal mentoring. In addition, Abbie has contributed four articles about social media authenticity to the website of Smart Gen Society, which encourages young people to make smart decisions online. She’s committed, she said, to giving people “the tools they need to turn around negative self-talk into positive self-image.”