Body Image Leaders in Schools (BILS)
Please note: The Body Image Programme is not being delivered at present. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like more information on body image.
The Body Image Leaders in Schools programme is a youth development, peer education programme. Women’s Health Action facilitates the skills development of young people so they can respond positively to the challenges of creating body safe environments in their schools by acting as Body Image Leaders. The programme is run in partnership with a coordinator based in the school (often a counsellor) and students.The role that the BILS play in the school is multifaceted and includes health promotion activities, education, social/cultural change and as referrers. BILS are trained and supported by Women’s Health Action with four dedicated training days each year covering areas including; health promotion planning, skills and tools, critical media literacy, understanding body safe environments, mindfulness and gender stereotypes, inequalities and representations.BILS achieves safer school environments, coordinators and students report less appearance based bullying and more respect for body diversity. Students also gain useful skills, Year 11 BILS gain skills around building body safe environments, goal setting and planning, and delivering health promotion activities and education, including delivering body image curriculum in their schools. Year 12 BILS provide leadership for the programme and Year 13 offer an important mentoring role.BILS have throughout the years run inspiring, challenging and fun programmes aimed at improving their peers’ body image.Here is what our 2014 students said about being a body image leader.
On being a body image leader.
‘Being a Body Image Leader is one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. It is such a privilege knowing that we are working towards making people feel safe and comfortable in their own skin and the fact that it is something I am so passionate about makes me so happy. It is such a great feeling seeing other people being effected in a positive way by us and seeing other people develop a passion for change’. ‘Being a Body Image Leader encourages me to share with people the importance of loving the skin you are in. Being a Body Image Leader gives me the confidence and knowledge to voice my opinion in a positive and creative way’.‘The knowledge I have gained has made me so much more confident. I feel so positive and happy with myself. I think body image has had such a good effect not only for ourselves but for the rest of the school. I have definitely started to see changes and that feels really good… Thank you Bex for giving Carmel and the girls this opportunity. We really do appreciate it and it’s been an honour working with you and the rest of Women’s Health Action. This is really important that this organisation and group carries on because it’s making a difference. A really great and powerful one’.
Some of the skills body image leaders said they have developed in their roles.
‘I have learnt how to be a positive role model of body image and how to stop people around me from body shaming and putting others down based on appearance’.‘I have learnt public speaking skills and also being a lot more comfortable with expressing myself ‘‘Public speaking, organising/event planning, team skills, management skills & research skills’.‘Leadership & communication skills’