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The
transformative power of art is proudly on display at Daniel Webster School 46. A group of strong young women in Daniel
Webster’s sixth- and seventh-grade classes teamed up with the United States Attorney’s OfficeArt With a Heart and the Department of Public Words on a project to build self-esteem
while leaving a lasting legacy at their school.

 

Over the course
of two months, 23 young ladies met weekly after school with volunteer mentors
from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for a self-portrait drawing workshop. As they
created their images, our artists built positive relationships with these local
professionals and discussed their goals and challenges.You Are Beautiful

 

The students’
completed portraits were incorporated into a huge art installation, which
spells out the words “You Are Beautiful,” hanging in the school’s entry area.

 

The seeds of
this partnership were planted a year ago, when Assistant U.S. Attorney Doris
Pryor visited Daniel Webster for a career day. Pryor realized immediately she
could foster a great connection with the young women she met that day.

 

“I saw you
in me,” Pryor told the young ladies of Daniel Webster at the unveiling of their
work. “In middle school I had dreams, I had aspirations, I had goals… I
knew where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. But there was something that
happened during that time. It was in middle school that my dad stopped coming
home. It was in middle school that people started bullying me for being smart,
for being outspoken, for being kind. It was around that time that my
neighborhood friends started to find new friends. It was in middle school when
I decided that I no longer liked how I looked on the outside or how I felt on
the inside. Those are the chains that society doesn’t talk about that I was
wearing. But it was because of young leaders – leaders in my community, leaders
in my church and leaders in my school – that unlocked the chains for me to be
the leader that I could become. I don’t have the key to unlock all of your
chains, but I knew I would come back to this school with someone who had the
key.”

 

Pryor teamed up
with Holly Combs, co-founder of the Department of Public Words, to bring an
inspirational initiative to the school. Students and their mentors talked to
one another about the labels society has given them and the ways they can define
themselves. By empowering our young women to peel off the labels of stereotypes
given to them by others, they’ve taken steps toward realization of their
self-worth and the fact that they truly are beautiful.

 

“We choose
for ourselves who we are,” Combs said. “We are beautiful and we are amazing and
we are intelligent. And we are the richest people you will ever meet and it has
nothing to do with money.”

 

“This
partnership has truly been a gift,” said Daniel Webster Principal Karen Linn.
“What makes it so powerful is that our girls are forming
relationships with successful professionals who in sharing about their own
experiences are planting seeds of success. The wonderful DOJ (Department of
Justice) volunteers and artists have helped our girls see that they too can
become successful and are truly valuable and capable of doing great things with
their lives.”

 

We are so proud
of the strong and confident young women of Daniel Webster and we appreciate the
invaluable support of our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office,
Department of Public Words and Art with a Heart!