In 2016, after spending a decade as a health care executive, Sarah Stevens decided to depart her high-stress career and follow a path defined by her passion for supporting other women. She began by working with a nonprofit organization focused on mentoring. Then, two years ago, she was inspired to launch The Beautifull Project (TBP). In a short time, TBP has grown into a multimedia platform that showcases the stories of women who navigate the world in diverse bodies, through diverse life circumstances, with diverse world views. Many of these women are faced with the challenge that the world often expects them to shrink in order to fit in. TBP encourages them to take up space instead.
A gifted author, speaker, and storyteller, Sarah blends her skills with her willingness to share her own experience as a woman navigating the world in a fat body to invite her audience to encounter the parts of themselves they hide away from the world - the parts they believe to be “too much”. Addressing everything from too-big bodies to a fear of failure that cripples confidence, Sarah projects a message that moves beyond body-positive sentiment and creates a movement that makes room for everybody to tell their truth and take up space. TBP is about the deep connections between what we believe about our bodies and what we believe about our belonging. It is about the reality that there is nothing TOO BIG about us. And it is about finding that truth together.
As a 2020 recipient of a Nation of Neighbors grant, Sarah will be able to expand beyond the digital world by publishing a workbook and curriculum for college-age women with help from a group of subject matter experts in the areas of nutrition, psychology, and more. Sarah has already been approached about such programming by one academic institution, and the grant will help her turn this opportunity into a reality.
"This gift is truly transformational for a project of this size, making possible things that were impossible just a few short weeks ago. I am both honored, and still a little shocked,” Ms. Stevens said. “When I started talking to women about their relationship with their bodies, I never imagined we would be in a position to expand. This gift will allow me to give any woman who wants to come along for the journey the tools to find her way back to believing in herself. That is powerful, and I am so deeply grateful,” she adds. “It will help us create a world where every BODY belongs.”
Nation of Neighbors is a Royal Neighbors of America philanthropy program that honors women leaders who are impacting the lives of women and girls. Each year, recipients are selected for an empowerment grant to support their work. To date, Royal Neighbors has awarded more than $2 million to women across the country.
For more information and program details, click here.