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Get Your Local School Involved

I found a wonderful new support resource today and I wanted to share her with you. Her name is Rachel Quast, M.A., CPT, LLC and she is the founder of SHED, author of Journey From The Storm Within, and a national speaker and survivor of several eating disorders. She has some wonderful ideas for spreading ED awareness to local schools. It's not too soon to start planning for Feb.

1. Plan events for Eating Disorder Awareness Week. This is an annual event occurring during the last week in February. Contact EDAP (Eating Disorder Awareness and Prevention) for materials and ideas.
2. Set up an informational booth in the cafeteria during lunch hour.
3. Create a display on a hallway wall or in a glass case to raise awareness of eating disorders.
4. Set up a support group in the school. It can be a women’s empowerment group, healthy eating group or eating disorder group. Be creative. Your goal is to work on the issues, create a safe place for students and get students to attend.
5. Have a clothes drive and donate them to a shelter. How does this relate? Have the students AND staff bring their “too thin” clothes. Some hold on to clothes from their anorexic days or as motivation to get thin again. These clothes are shaming and do not teach people to embrace their natural body.
6. Invite a speaker to your school. Find one that brings “real life” stories, not one who only gives facts. Students don’t care about numbers, but rather, real human experiences to which they can CONNECT!
7. Play the video “Slim Hopes” by Jean Kilbourn and discuss it afterwards. It is a 30-minute video about the media and advertising and how it relates to women’s body image.
8. Have a “no diet day.” Get students and staff to commit to not dieting for that one day. On the same day, create a display board with dieting facts and the dangers of dieting.
9. Organize a dance where students are not allowed to wear dresses or tuxedos. Sometimes dances become fashion shows, making it an image competition. The goal of dances is to have fun, not spend hours on one’s hair and make up.
10. Organize a panel discussion so students can ask panel members questions about eating disorders. Some suggestions for panel members may be a dietician, counselor, school counselor, a survivor, a parent of a survivor and a representative of a residential treatment facility.
11. Create a body diversity day. One activity for the day can be having the students trace their bodies and writing positive personality traits and personal interests inside the body tracing.