Helping Teens Inner Beauty Shine: InnerStarGirl

While many of the challenges facing teens today are not new, there are now innovative strategies to help them cope with such timeless issues as bullying and low self-esteem. One of the brightest programs to appear on the horizon is InnerStar- Girl. Founded by Lisa Tiano, a former school counselor with a Masters in Clinical Psychology, and her two young daughters, Brynn, now a junior at Calabasas High School, and Mia, an 8th grader in middle school, InnerStarGirl seeks to empower young ladies navigating the emotionally charged waters of their teenage years.

Lisa saw that the teenage girls she counseled were frequently treated harshly by their peers. Lisa’s daughter Brynn also noticed how intensely girls bullied each other around school and online. Together, Lisa and her daughters, who were experiencing some of these issues firsthand, strove to mitigate a myriad of social pressures, from gossiping to cyberbullying. They created InnerStarGirl, a non-judgmental platform to help combat teens’ low self-esteem, poor body image, peer pressure, and academic stresses. Teachers, inspired by these programs, are inviting Lisa to hold open dialogues in their classrooms to address crucial issues facing teens today.

In an effort to further tackle these issues and more, Lisa Tiano and Natalie Gonzalez, club director and interim director of development for the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Conejo Valley, recently developed the BEYOND ENOUGH Teen Girl Conference. Collaborating with teenage girls from more than 20 different schools throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties, the conference, held this past May at the A.C. Stelle Middle School in Calabasas, encouraged teens to become the catalyst of their own change. Led by female leaders and experts in the field, plus an informative teen panel, this empowering event focused on girl power, offering insights into issues confronting young girls during their extremely vulnerable pre-teen and teen years.

“Our purpose…was to help widen the lens for young girls and women to acknowledge and celebrate their strengths,” remarked Tiano. “This dynamic platform is more than just building a girl tribe–it’s coming together as girls and women leaders and knowing we are beyond enough.” The inspirational conference offered three unique workshops: Self-awareness (self-worth), Social Awareness (the impact of social media), and Community Support (creating a girl tribe). Participants gained valuable skills and resources to help change how they saw themselves and their own social surroundings.

The InnerStarGirl organization produces events and workshops for young girls and women throughout the community. Lisa’s oldest daughter, who first brought the InnerStarGirl Club to her high school, invites all girls from 9th to 12th grade to meet monthly to discuss how to build self-esteem and confidence. Lisa meets with school administrators and teachers to hold classroom chats to further foster a “culture of kindness.”