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AYS To Present 'Beautiful' Awards

In conjunction with the Beautiful Campaign and its empowering signs around town, AYS is looking for nominations for an award to be given to youth who exude inner beauty and outward action.

This year, as part of the "It's a Beautiful Campaign" coordinated by Troop KBG (Kick Butt Girls,) Andover Youth Services will be presenting "Beautiful Youth Awards" at the Keep it Wild Fashion Show on Tuesday, June 19, according to AYS Youth Program Coodinator Afton Cuomo.

"These awards will be an opportunity to recognize those unsung beautiful heroes (middle and high school youth) who contribute to making the community of Andover more beautiful. We are looking for nominations based on an individual's inner beauty and outward actions," she said.

An email, sent recently to middle school and high school teachers asked for nominations. Cuomo is also asking the community for nominations which can be sent to her email by the beginning of this week.

The AYS Troop KBG started three years ago with the purpose of breaking down stereotypes and empowering young women, according to Cuomo. The group initiated the Beautiful Campaign this year, after some of the members attended the Masachusetts Conference for Women in Boston. 

Courtney Plati, rising junior, is new to the group.

"It is so important to let young women know it's okay to be themselves because the media doesn't convey what real women are like," Plati said.

She said that making the signs was a positive experience for the group, as well as helping others feel better about themselves.

"It is a win-win situation," she said.

Joining two years ago, graduate Lauren LeBlanc said she did so because the group was about empowering women and changing the community of Andover. 

She said those who attended the conference were inspired by the speaker and her website, operation beautiful.com which suggested putting positive messages on sticky notes.

"Although we first put them on the mirrors in the high school girls' rooms, we wanted to do something with more impact," she explained.

Plati agreed. "People say that it is neat that we're doing it. It is really nice to see the signs as you walk from the high school to town."

Both LeBlanc and Plati said the awards are a natural extension and finishing touch to the campaign. 

The Keep it Wild Fashion Show on June 19 will be held at Old Town Hall. The doors open at 7 p.m. for pre-fashion show festivities with the show starting at 8 p.m.  Tickets $7 for students and $10 for adults will be sold at the door.  

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