A daughter is beautiful in the eyes of her mother, but the glare of her peers can challenge that perception each day.
Lambert High School teenagers working to reset the definition of beauty recently gathered for a mother-daughter picnic to celebrate a school year of working toward that mission.
Madison LaBelle, a junior, founded the club “Lambert Girls Redefining Beautiful” from her personal experiences and struggles starting high school.
“I had a really hard time my freshman year,” LaBelle said of making friends and feeling confident.
“I had this epiphany that I can’t be the only one going through that. I know I’m not alone. There has to be a bunch of girls at this school and in the community that are having a hard time like I am.”
The club’s quick growth in just one school year proved her thoughts true, as girls gathered to focus on what makes a woman beautiful.
Society’s definition of beauty, LaBelle said, confronts women every day in commercials, advertisements and media.
“We want to find beauty in our hearts and stop looking in the mirror to find that,” she said. “You decide your own beauty, and to have that confidence is truly a special gift to have.
“That’s our mission is to spread that through the community. You’re beautiful and no one needs to tell you that but yourself and God.”
The group looks to the Bible for stories of women who modeled beauty in their actions and their hearts, LaBelle said.
The club’s sponsor, Rhetta Roy, shared the story of Naomi and Ruth at the mother-daughter picnic April 21, as she spoke about the importance of that relationship.
“Mothers are our first exposure to what being a lady and a God-fearing woman should look like,” Roy said. “As daughters, we have to look beyond our youth to what God’s plan for our life is.”
Roy, who has led the group in discussion and activities throughout the year, gave an emotional speech during the picnic.
“I’m just so moved by these girls,” she said of the club’s members.
A senior member of the club, Dani Brillhart said she joined to mentor younger students on how to get through the pressures of being a growing young lady.
“I’ve love being part of it,” Brillhart said. “It’s like having more little sisters.”
As an only child, LaBelle has created a sisterhood with the club, which her mother, MJ, has become a part of as well.
Looking at the female relationships represented at the picnic, MJ LaBelle reflected on her daughter’s mission.
“We’re just really proud of her,” she said. “If you’re strong in your heart, you can get through anything.”