By Emily Gonzalez ’21
In the month of Jan., freshman Alejandra Maldonado founded a new club at Pritzker, Beauty and Health (BNH), to help empower women.
During one of Maldonado’s math periods, Molly Schrishuhn, a Learning Specialist, asked her about her New Year resolutions – Maldonado plans to work on being a better version of herself this year – which sparked the thought of beginning a new club. Maldonado wasn’t the only one with the goal of losing weight and becoming more confident as her best friend Bianca Villalbalopez, a freshman, also had the same views – Villalbalopez served as the encouraging push Maldonado needed to go forth with the club.
Knowing she was not the only one with the same views, Maldonado took the initiative to start a new club and reached out to Schrishuhn, who then contributed to the development of the club; she became the sponsor of the club and helped Maldonado bring her vision to life, thus “Beauty and Health” came to be.
The whole point of the club is to “empower women” by “[creating] a space where women feel safe to talk about the things that matter to them,” and have the “opportunity to be themselves,” as Schrishuhn described. “There are a lot of things in this world that can make [people] feel small and make [them] not like themselves or question if [they are] good enough,” and this club allows girls to have the opportunity to feel good about who they are, as Schrishuhn explained. The club works toward individual growth as well as group growth, as Maldonado mentioned, she hopes the club allows “other girls to build self confidence” alongside her. “If fear takes over, you won’t do what you love,” which is why Maldonado wanted to start this club, to give girls the chance to become a better version of themselves.
To build a safe and comfortable environment for the club, Maldonado organizes every club meeting with activities that will grow trust and community between the girls. Sophomore Pricila Ortega described this to be effective as she stated, “we get to express ourselves on what we want and [we are encouraged] to express it whatever way [we choose to].” For example, one of the meetings – specifically on Feb. 6 – the girls got to know each other through verbal introduction, working through an icebreaker, and through an activity in which the girls could find things in common with each other.
Beauty and Health is an all girls club that currently has members ranging from freshman to juniors. Maldonado decided to make the club an all girls club because as Schrishuhn explained, “after the first meeting it became very obvious that [it was what the girls who showed up wanted] so they can talk about the things that matter to them as girls.” Ortega appreciates this feature as she explained, “this club stands out because it’s an all girls club, [which recognizes women more] and that’s hard to find now.”
Beauty and Health originally met every Wednesdays, but due to an inconvenience, it has changed to meeting every Tuesdays in room 318 from 4:00 p.m – 5:00 p.m.