LA Teen encourages self-care with kits for girls in need
During the early days of the pandemic, the days of strict quarantine, the days of isolation, the days filled with fear and uncertainty and sometimes great grief, people coped as best they could in their own ways, whether that meant over-exercising, over-eating , or over-posting on social media. Surplus or excess was something of a theme, a compensation, it seems, for time spent grappling with the unknown. We would know how to do the damn thing, and do it well, and do it often.
But excess was not the balm for all, as there were and are some who do not have enough of even the basic resources beyond food, shelter and toilet paper that help one feel whole and cared for.
Kylie Joy Cooper, though only 16, was struck by it at the time, after returning from a mission trip in Atlanta, when she realized how many girls did not have access to adequate self-care resources. She started her non-profit organization, Girl Well, with the mission of making self-care fairer through self-care kits that promote self-love.
“Through the Girl Well Kits, we provide vulnerable teenage girls with mental, physical and emotional health,” explains Cooper. “To date, we have reached 500 girls in 5 different states and partnered with multi-million dollar companies.”
Girl Well kits are typically distributed through foster care shelters and programs in low-income communities, but the nonprofit has also gone directly to homes.
Initially, due to the urgency that accompanied this mission at the time, these kits were personally funded by Cooper and her parents. Since then, the organization has benefited from private donations through the Girl Well website.
“It takes a village to continue the mission of Girl Well and we have been blessed to receive in-kind donations from our generous partners as well. We are honored to partner with multi-million dollar brands such as Bombas, The Female Quotient, Olive and June, Denman Brushes and Better Help to provide girls with free teletherapy. Our amazing partners help girls in all different aspects of life.”
Girl Well was recognized by significant stores in a short time.
“I was fortunate enough to be named a Disney Dreamer and my organization was featured on Good Morning America,” says Cooper. “I was also part of the inaugural class of Prudential Emerging Visionaries.”
Cooper was even featured on a billboard in Times Square.
Although the successes and achievements were satisfactory, identifying new channels and places to donate the kits was somewhat challenging. Girl Well is also actively seeking additional donors.
“We recently launched our ‘Sponsor a Girl’ program where, depending on the amount chosen, donors can sponsor as many girls as they wish,” offers Cooper. This is another way stakeholders can make a direct impact on the lives of young girls through Girl Well.
Although young herself and still navigating her own educational career, Cooper is unwavering in her quest to help the less fortunate.
“Self-care has played such an important role in my life,” says Cooper. “And everyone deserves the opportunity to take advantage and start their journey of self-care. So far we have reached girls in 5 different states, but I want to reach every state in America and would love to become an international organization.
“The work that Girl Well does is necessary, self-care is necessary. Self-care is the foundation for anything you want to do, and I want to make sure everyone has access to it.”
To donate, visit girlwell.org.
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