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Getting to know…. Mini Mermaids

March 30, 2017

As you know, with each purchase made, our customers get to choose which charity they would like to donate 5% of their purchase to, and we wanted you to get to know one of our charities a little better!

We sat down with Hannah Corne, UK Director of Mini Mermaids, to find out more about their programme and what they do to help young girls.

 

1. How did Mini Mermaids start?

Mini Mermaid Running Club originally started in the USA. The founder, Heidi Boynton saw that there was a need for a programme to be developed that addressed the growing self-confidence issues of pre-teen girls and the lack of physically activity within them.

Mini Mermaids came to the UK when I realised that my daughter showed signs of having Selective Mutism, an anxiety disorder where the individual has a phobia of people hearing them speak and so struggles to communicate.

I contacted Heidi and we adapted the curriculums for the UK and then piloted the programme in my daughter’s school in July 2015.

 

2. What does the Mini Mermaid programme involve?

The Mini Mermaid programme is a six week after school programme, with two sessions a week. At the end of the six weeks, the girls take part in a 5km challenge where the emphasis is on enjoying the experience.

 

3. How many girls have gone through the programme?

So far, we’ve had 300 girls through the programme with the aim to reach 500 by the end of the school year. For each programme, we keep group numbers to 10 girls maximum. This is so there is plenty of opportunity for open and authentic discussions and it means that quieter girls are able to have their voice heard.

 

4. How does the running programme benefit young girls - physically and mentally?

Last year we reviewed some of the girls who went through the programme and we found that before taking part, these girls knew they should be true to themselves yet they found it impossible to do. After the programme, the same girls were able to consider doing things that were right for them rather than following others. It’s a big shift in self-confidence.

 

5. What do you think the main issues are that affect young girl’s confidence?

I think that social media has a great responsibility for lack of girl's self-confidence. It's hard for girls to distinguish what is real and what is fake and the expectancy on girls to grow up quickly and behave like the images that they see is significant.

 

6. How do you feel women in sport are portrayed in the media?

I think that the coverage of women in sport is getting better, however I still feel that there is a constant battle with getting professional female sport to be taken as seriously as men's sport. I believe that all athletes, male or female, should be celebrated for their physical, mental and emotional strength.

 

7. What would you say to girls who want to stand up for themselves and become more confident?

I would tell them that they should celebrate the fact that they are standing up for themselves, never having to apologise for being confident and believing in what they are doing. I would also say to not gauge their self worth on just the things that are successful with in their lives. We need falls and we need failures to help us learn and to propel us forwards in life, but it’s how we respond to these falls and failures that is important. We need to learn to greet them with grace, not beat ourselves up because of failing,

 

8. How does it feel to be picked as one of the three charities that Boudavida supports?

I am unbelievably humbled to be picked as one of the three Charities to be supported by Boudavida. I have so much passion for what I do and believe wholeheartedly in our mission to raise the self confidence in girls and help activity become ingrained into their everyday life, so it is always affirming when others recognise this too.

 

9. How will the money that Boudavida donate to you help?

The money will help us provide the programme to schools and access community centres to run programmes. We are all volunteers, so the money will go towards supplies for coaches and the continual development of the curriculums so we stay relevant to the girls that we reach.

 

10. What are Mini Mermaids aspirations and goals for the future?

Our main aim is to be able to offer the Mini Mermaid programme to all schools in the country where they can take part in all four curriculums and then become Mini Mermaid coaches themselves when they get to high school.

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