The statistics are heartbreaking: 50% of girls in the sixth grade are on a diet, and nine out of 10 girls report that they feel pressure to be thin from the media.

Enter the BeYou program, a multi-faceted campaign to tackle negative body image and boost girl’s sense of self-worth. The program is sponsored my Morguard Corporation with the support of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Canada (BBBS).

“When I was in grade six I was made fun of by the boys for having big lips and a flat chest,” said Morguard National Retail Marketing Director Andrea Tushingham in an interview with Lady Freethinker. “I remember how this negatively impacted my self-esteem at the time. As I grew older I realized that it was silly for me to worry about those comments and since then I have tried my best to always be thankful for a strong and healthy body and mind.”

The program includes both online and real-world components. At participating shopping centers, girls can create a digital “promise” that will display on the BeYou website. Photo booths are provided to capture girls “in a moment of exuberance and joy.” And of course, the campaign has its own hashtag — #beyougirl will unite the many platforms of the BeYou program.

Canadian television personality Erin Cebula is the program’s celebrity ambassador, and will be on location for launch events and provide a social media presence.

BBBS is also heavily involved, and “will be running a condensed version of this program in some of our centers,” explained Tushingham. “They will also set up information booths where mall patrons and BeYou participants can learn more about BBBS programming and learn how to be a mentor.”

In a world where half of all girls say they wish they were thinner, programs like the BeYou campaign are a welcome addition.