BeaYOUtiful workshops in Calgary aim to empower girls

How one woman’s passion project has turned into a movement to boost the confidence of young women

By Leanne Murray | July 21, 2022 |5:00 am

Taylor Hui created the BeaYOUtiful Foundation in hopes of inspiring the younger generation.

Photo: Dani Lyn Ayee and Mya Sheffield

Taylor Hui is passionate about helping young girls discover their self-worth and grow their confidence.

Hui is the founder and director of the BeaYOUtiful Foundation—a charity based out of BC that started as a passion project when she was a senior in high school.

“It was supposed to be just a one-time pilot program,” she explains. However, it quickly grew into something more.

“I really saw the need for young girls to have a safe space to learn about positive body image and just know their self-worth and what it feels like to embody confidence.”

Inspiring young girls

Hui fell in love with the environment she had built for girls to be themselves, connect with inspiring female mentors, and have a space to be vulnerable.

The BeaYOUtiful Foundation became a non-profit organization in 2018, and it was a registered charity by the winter of 2019.

“We provide six-week confidence-building programs for young girls between the ages of eight to 14,” Hui explains, adding they also host four-week mental wellness programs, single-day workshops, and a large-scale conference called Inspired by HER.

Topics include body image and positivity, confidence building, self-esteem, and media literacy.

Hui says participants respond positively to the content because it’s applicable and relevant to their lives, and that parents are also supportive.

“[They] also see the need for these young girls to have influential and really inspiring women in front of them—to help them carve a path and what their future looks like, how to take hold of that with confidence, and knowing their value in this world.”

Targeting the development age

Hui believes anyone at any age would benefit from the programming the BeaYOUtiful Foundation offers, but says they specifically target girls before they enter high school.

“When you are at that development age of eight to 14, there’s so much going on around you,” she says.

“There’s so much influence that’s trying to push their way into telling you how you should look and act and behave.”

Hui wants to inspire girls to be their most authentic selves, find their voices, and learn how to speak out and stand up for themselves and others.

“Confidence can really help transform their whole experience as they enter high school, just knowing their value.”

Program attendees call each other soul sisters.

Empowering by engaging

The BeaYOUtiful Foundation programs and workshops are tailored to be interactive and fun so participants are engaged, inspired, and empowered.

“Our hope is that we provide a space that these girls are excited to be a part of,” Hui says, adding they strive to have an open dialogue.

“We call each other soul sisters. There’s no judgement in this space as long as you’re showing up with kindness and you’re speaking from your heart. And I think with that, it forms a beautiful relationship between mentor and mentee.”

Hui says many of the girls who attend a one-day workshop will then enrol in a multi-week program, which is a testimony to the work they do.

“They want to come back for more,” she says, adding the programming is free so there are no financial barriers.

“Our biggest pride is making sure that we provide these programs and workshops for any young girl that wants to participate.”

Calgary soul sisters

A four-week confidence program is underway in Calgary, and enrolment is open for four pop-up workshops taking place on Aug. 25, 26, and 27.

Hui says they decided to bring the BeaYOUtiful Foundation to Calgary after hearing from women who wanted to volunteer as mentors, as well as from parents who heard about the programming and expressed interest.

She is grateful for sponsors, including the Telus Friendly Future Foundation, who help make the free workshops possible.

“We are able to do that with the help of amazing community partners that really stand by and believe in helping the next generation of young girls be confident leaders,” Hui says.

Individual donors are also a big help.

“Whether it’s $5 or $50, we always say, as a grassroots charity, every single bit counts,” Hui says.

Making a difference

She also encourages women to get involved by volunteering to be mentors or guest speakers, adding they offer flexibility depending on a volunteer’s availability.

“We have over 200 incredible mentors on our team. The work that we do would not be possible without the dedication we have from women coming and being a part of our content and what we provide to the community.”

Hui says it’s a way for like-minded women to be part of a community that is making a real difference in the lives of young girls.

“It’s nice to see that so many friendships organically come out of the mentors who are teaching together. I’m excited to see that blossom in Calgary as well as we grow,” she says.

Having a lasting impact

Hui is grateful every day that she decided to follow her gut and expand the pilot program she created at just 17 years old.

She believes the BeaYOUtiful Foundation is her true calling, and says it’s gratifying to see how it has grown.

“To be honest, it feels quite surreal and I still get emotional talking about it,” she says, adding that it’s possible to make an impact at any age.

“I felt like a lot of the time throughout my high school years, I was always told that I was too young or too inexperienced to ever create something that would have a lasting impact.”

Hui says she was stubborn, determined, and wanted to prove herself, and the result has been very fulfilling and a privilege to share with the women on her team.

“The team that is behind this charity really supports the mission, and I think that’s what’s the most fulfilling, is that we all are so purpose-driven,” she explains.

“And the beautiful part is, we’re teaching these young girls about confidence and self-love and self-worth, but in return, the mentorship component is full circle because they end up teaching us so much.”

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Leanne Murray

Leanne is a Calgary Citizen reporter.

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