GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – Nearly 140 middle school students from several districts in Kent County converged for a day of empowerment, education, and encouragement. Maranda’s Beautiful U teaches girls to be beautiful in mind, body, and soul.

Ferris State University Grand Rapids opened its doors for the event and provided a full team of staff members and volunteers. They support the strong message of Beautiful U, which gives girls the opportunity hear an empowering message from women who are experts in their fields. The students also get to experience what it’s like to be on a college campus and interact with women with backgrounds in different careers.

The young women attending Beautiful U got a chance to hear from spoken word artist, Kai Love, of Chicago. Love inspired the girls with her spoken word, poetry and song.

“I was once a young girl who had poor self-esteem despite people telling me, ‘You’re beautiful, you’re talented,’ all these other things. I still felt like I wasn’t,” spoken word poet Kai Love said. “It took work to get me to the point where I can speak in front of people and do the things that I love. Poetry, singing, writing songs.”

Love, also shared her experience with the girls, urging them to find that something that makes them shine.

“It may be poetry, it may be singing, sports, it may be some other career choice, it may be spirituality. There is something within all of us that is going to strike this balance and inspiration that’s going to shoot and propel people into a positive life,” Love said.

Dr. Lisa Lowery from Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital carried that subject with an important message for girls to love themselves.

Dr. Lowery sees many young people who don’t have good self-esteem, which can affect relationships and how they perform in school. She also talked about making healthy choices when it comes to piercing and tattoos.

Adding to the message of health and wellness, Priority Health is committed to enhancing people’s lives. Kris Rich of Priority showed the girls some exercises and how they can get moving every day.

With so much screen time these days, it’s extremely important to stay active. Kris explains that exercise isn’t about being ‘skinny’, it’s about feeling strong and good about yourself – inside and out.

Finish this sentence: I am….

After Beautiful U, participants filled the board with words like ‘Powerful’, ‘Intelligent’, and ‘Capable’. It’s amazing to see the empowerment these girls received! Girls learned that they can be who they are in life and “it’s ok to not be ok”.