The digital world we live in today allows us to be in constant connection with people from all over the world. Yet, we feel more alone than ever. And the rate of bullying and self-esteem, especially for girls and women, is harrowing.
To bring a more intimate level of connection, support, and positive messaging to girls experiencing hardship, Whitney Saxon launched To Love Ourselves. After leaving her corporate position at Newell Brands behind, Whitney dove into life coaching while maintaining her blog, sometimes, always, never. After coaching women and girls, a common theme kept rising to the surface.
“I noticed that we as women are dealing with the same issues in every walk of life,” Whitney explained. “I would have a mom who talked to me about her little girl who didn’t feel pretty because people from school were making fun of her. Then a middle school girl would tell me the same thing. Then I’d have a 20-year-old client who would say they don’t feel good about their body or what to do with their life. Women continue to deal with the same struggles throughout their life, they just become more mature in those struggles.”
“I wanted to do something where older women could give wisdom to younger women and girls on these topics. That’s where The Letter Project started being born. Any female in a girl’s life (a mom, sister, or friend), can nominate her to receive letters from us. I then send out that letter request via our website. We have over 1200 volunteers who can sign up if they are interested. We let up to 15 women sign up per girl and they write to her. I review them all, bundle them up with ribbon and affirmation cards, and send them out. So each girl will receive 10-15 letters of support at one time.”
The power of letters written from women across the country becomes clear when hearing the stories of girls impacted by The Letter Project.
“We had a girl who was in the car with her family when they were hit by a drunk driver. Everyone in the car died except her and fortunately, her mom was not in the car. Her mom nominated her daughter to receive letters because she was understandably having a really hard time after the accident. So we sent off the letters and later on the mom told us that her daughter carries the letters with her everywhere and reads them all the time. It helps her realize she’s not alone, even though she’s grappling with feelings of loneliness and isolation after losing her family.”
“We also had a girl who was six and during the first week of kindergarten got a haircut she didn’t like. She was worried about going to school and being bullied, so we sent her letters encouraging her that she’s beautiful, no matter what.”
“This isn’t just for people who’ve experienced horrible tragedies because a problem might seem small to me but feel really big to you. So, we are trying to meet people wherever they are, no matter how big or small their hardship may be.”
With the massive success of The Letter Project, Whitney hopes to continue expanding the number of volunteers so letters can reach even more girls in need of encouragement. She also dreams of opening a physical space for face-to-face connection.
“I really underestimated how much women want to give back. You often need time or money to volunteer or be involved in a meaningful way. This is something you can do from the comfort of home and all you need is a piece of paper and positive thoughts. I think that’s an underestimated part of what has helped it grow.”
“In the long run, I hope to serve even more women and girls. We have a 300 person wait list right now because we can only currently handle 25 requests per month. It doesn’t sound like much but with each girl receiving 15 letters, the numbers add up quickly. My ultimate goal is to have a physical space where women and girls can do yoga, receive counseling, and create friendships. A space that builds women and girls while helping them come together, stronger.”
If you’re interested in putting pen to paper to support women and girls, you can become a writer. You can also host a Write Night with your best gal pals. Find out all about that opportunity here. Keep up with To Love Ourselves on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Photos are property of To Love Ourselves.