Sunshine and music filled City Park Wednesday as dozens of girls, ages 8 to 15, laughed and played in the grass. Their parents, siblings and pets sat on benches and lawn chairs in front of the Larry Norvell Band Shell to watch Christian rock artist Jonny Diaz perform his hit song “A More Beautiful You.”
Diaz’s performance wrapped up Project Self-Esteem, a five-week series of workshops hosted by Westview Community Church for young girls.
The workshop taught girls that despite what people might say, God thinks they are beautiful, said Sarah Siders, co-coordinator of Project Self-Esteem.
Throughout his show, Diaz created an intimate mood by telling the audience stories behind each song he wrote and performed. The lyrics were displayed on a large projector so the audience could sing along.
“I’ve been married for about two years, so I know everything about women,” Diaz said. “I’ve noticed that girls of all ages just want to be beautiful. The media might be telling you that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful, but I believe that God made every woman beautiful and special in her own way.”
Diaz performed several songs from his album “More Beautiful You” and stayed at the park after the show to take pictures and sign autographs. His albums and memorabilia were also available for sale.
Throughout the month of June, Siders, Stephanie Wick, co-coordinator of the project, and a volunteer staff hosted the workshops every Wednesday night at Westview, located at 3001 Fort Riley Blvd.
The idea for Project Self-Esteem largely came from Diaz’s song “A More Beautiful You,” because it challenges the media’s image of “beautiful,” Siders said.
Each session discussed a different topic, including forgiving people who negatively label girls, female relationships and the media’s effects on body image.
For the final workshop, the girls participated in a talent show to share their passions, including athletics, modeling, fashion and singing. Miss Kansas 2010 Lauren Werhan and several members of the K-State Women’s Basketball team shared their thoughts on body image with the girls.
“We wanted to bring in people that were recognizable and had a good message,” Siders said.
Diaz’s concert wrapped up the 2010 Project Self-Esteem.
The participants and the volunteer staff raised more than $6,000 from fundraising events to pay for the concert.
“The community support we received was amazing,” Siders said.
Vickie Holverson, Manhattan resident, attended the concert with her granddaughters, who participated in the program.
“I think this is a very good project for young girls because they don’t necessarily look at themselves as beautiful, and good self-esteem is very important,” she said.
Holverson said her granddaughters found out about the program through attending services at Westview; she said she would love for them to participate again next year.
“The concert was nice to attend,” Holverson said. “I thought it was a beautiful evening; my goodness, God couldn’t have furnished a better evening for it.”
Anna Hupp, 11, also participated in Project Self-Esteem.
“The workshops were really open; it wasn’t all serious and boring, even though there were times we got in deep thoughts and talked to God,” she said.
Siders said Project Self-Esteem plans to evolve and continue its workshops next year.
“I just loved seeing all the girls come and really get involved, and I think they were really open to the message,” she said.