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Fourth annual #loveyourselfie builds relationship skills

Over 50 teenaged girls gathered at the fourth annual #loveyourselfie on Saturday to learn about relationships—from building self-esteem to understanding love languages.

The event featured presentations from local women like Picayune School District Athletic Director Kristi Mitchell and Devin Lee Smith, small group meetings where teens could ask for advice and musical performances from Brianna Russell Pickett.

The annual gathering is hosted by Rotary Club of Picayune and features a different theme each year, said event organizer Christy Goss. The event relies on donations and sponsorships, although the club received a $750 grant from the Rotary Club district to help with the cost of hosting this year’s event.

Past themes have included scars, both internal and external, and self-love.

Bailey Simms Henry could tell the room was low energy when she got to the microphone, so she directed everyone to stand and led the group in a positive affirmation.

“I am good,” said Henry.

The room full of girls called back, “I am good.”

Henry was one of the #loveyourselfie speakers, with a talk that touched on the challenges of social media, her own experiences with sexual abuse and how journaling helped her get her voice back. 

“I carried around so much shame for what happened to me,” said Henry.

She closed her talk by telling the teens to find grace, from themselves and from God.

“At 15, I just needed grace. I didn’t need to get scolded. I didn’t need a lecture,” said Henry.

The teens also broke into small groups where they could ask advice from Miss Rhythm and Blues Jessie Besanson, listen to Dr. Jameye Martin speak on self worth and finding the right partner, or learn about love languages with elementary school teacher Susan Spiers.

“Relationships are constant. They’re in our lives every day from the time we wake up to the time we go to bed,” said Spiers.

Sophmore Ryleigh Seidel thought the event was a good opportunity to boost self-esteem.

“As a girl, I will sit in my room and judge, and compare myself to people,” said Seidel.

Seventh grader Christmas Cole also thought the event was a good opportunity for growth.

“I think it’s amazing that Ms. Christy decided to do this, because it helps us gain confidence in ourselves,” said Cole.

Attendees left the event armed with lessons on love, self-worth and their own pink journals, ready to be filled with their words.