Lighting the way for women’s empowerment

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Guests expected to attend Thursday’s event included Malverne Mayor and Sacred Heart alum Patti McDonald. “I just think it’s wonderful that the girls at Sacred Heart are thinking about doing something like this,” McDonald said. “You don’t realize that this is a really big problem, and I think it’s a great opportunity to bring awareness to something like this.”

Aside from the vigil, the girls organized a fundraiser called Women of Heart Take Heart, and asked their classmates to purchase handcrafted hearts to benefit victims of domestic violence. Students also participated in a Sweats Day for DV fundraiser, in which they were allowed to leave their uniforms at home for a day as long as they donated $5 to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The effort raised $3,000.

And, in a joint effort with Beautiful Me — a Michigan-based nonprofit that works to build the confidence of young girls by educating them about self-love through interactive workshops and programs — Sacred Heart has created a club in which girls have actively promoted Beautiful Me’s message by hanging posters of local students and faculty around school to illustrate their different types of beauty.

Cody, a resident of Island Park, attributed this pursuit of boosting self-esteem, one young woman at a time, to the age-old Confucius quote: Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

“So many girls have problems that you wouldn’t realize, you wouldn’t know — everyone hides it,” she said. “Everyone has that vulnerability in them, but when you have that support system around you, when you have someone to talk to … when you build people up and you’re there for someone, it’s very important for people to do that.”

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