"We are keepers to our dreams," says Tracie Berry-McGhee, founder of St. Louis-headquartered 'I Define ME' in 2002. "We focus on wellness, opportunities, knowledge and empowerment. IDM aspires to help women establish their own identities and walk in purpose."
Also as a licensed therapist, speaker, author, talk-show host, empowernista and St. Louis native Tracie, M.Ed., LPC, says she lives by the philosophy: "I am unique, I am we, I represent unity, I am diversity, a mosaic of people live in me."
In essence, the goal of this movement is for girls, especially girls aged 8 to 18 years, to nurture inner awareness, find their purpose, and realize the value of defining their voices.
As a speaker, Tracie addresses topics, such as girl empowerment, girl bullying, mental health and parental tips. She also founded a nonprofit named SistaKeeper to support and inspire teens, with an empowerment center based in Florissant. IDM also provides a wellness mobile tour van that travels to schools, libraries, special events, churches or community centers to offer Keeper Kits, journals, personal hygiene items, shirts, books and products made by girls for girls (sometimes through pop-up shops).
Stemming from the following statistics, Tracie says she saw the need for surrounding girls and young women with tools for maximizing self-confidence:
- 74% of girls say they're under pressure to please everyone (Girls Inc., The SuperGirl Dilemma).
- 98% of girls feel there's an immense pressure from external sources to look a certain way (National Report On Self-Esteem).
- 92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest (Dove Campaign).
- 90% of eating disorders are found in girls (National Association For Self-Esteem).
- 1 in 4 girls fall into a clinical diagnosis: depression, eating disorders and other mental/emotional disorders. Furthermore, many more report being constantly anxious, sleep deprived and under significant pressure. (The Triple Bind, Steven Hinshaw)
Locally, IDM school-based programs include: Parkway School District; Ladue Middle School; Hazelwood School District; St. Louis Catholic Academy; Marian Middle School; Ferguson-Florissant R-II School District; and Mehlville R-IX School District.
Growing up in Tracie's community, she recalls often not having all the resources she needed to thrive. "As a Black girl, I dealt with bullying about my hair and my lips. Now we teach girls the power of financial security, social media representation and becoming an overall positive individual in the community," she shares.
Text IDM to 22999
"Staff and supporters of the I Define ME organization have impacted more than 25,000 girls in positive, long-lasting ways over the past 20 years. To date, 22 local schools, 31 national IDM school chapters and presences in six countries were assisted and encouraged, while increasing self-esteem, literacy, decreasing relational aggression, bullying and giving girls and women a safe space to define wellness. Women and girls share their stories, and define their voices to help shape the world mentally, physically, spiritually, financially and emotionally." ~Tracie McGhee