Fourth grade was the worst year of my life, all because I landed the lead role in my elementary school’s production of Annie. This had been the most coveted role in my drama class, and, needless to say, not everyone was quite as thrilled as I was with the cast list. I spent the rest of the year being ruthlessly bullied by the other girls in my class, and by the end of fourth grade, I was resigned to sitting alone in the corner of the cafeteria for lunch every day.
Looking back, I realize that I let the opinions of these girls consume me, and this persisted for years before I finally gained the confidence and self-esteem to break out of that mindset. My experience led directly to the creation of Project No Filter, an annual retreat for middle school girls that features speakers such as nutritionists and therapists, discussing body image and self-esteem.
Project No Filter is not a profitable business. All the speakers volunteer their time and the facilities are donated so that the retreat can be open to any girl, regardless of financial situation. However, I hope to one day be able to further this program, and eventually create a world where every woman is able to stand up for herself. We are nowhere near achieving this goal, but the time has come to fight for the little girl who, by the end of her fourth grade year, truly understood the loneliness of Little Orphan Annie.