Aubrey’s Song Foundation hopes to raise eating disorder awareness

August 28, 2019 | 3:15 am

Updated August 27, 2019 | 10:32 pm

Aubrey’s Song Foundation is devoted to continuing Aubrey Michelle Clark’s legacy by raising awareness of the prevalence of eating disorders.

Through increasing understanding, providing education, endorsing treatment and promoting prevention, the foundation took their mission to the next level by training 25 community volunteers, school employees, parents, and many others with the message of eating disorders awareness and prevention.

Executive director Carolyn Ferber said there is renewed optimism for Aubrey’s Song to make a greater impact within the community.

“They have a vision and a direction to head in now,” she said. “We are getting our ducks in a row to create a solid springboard to provide greater access to these much-needed services in our community.”

The training opportunity came about after the board of directors administered a survey to city and county school districts looking for their concerns around eating disorders and body image issues within elementary, middle and high school students. The survey is to help the group better understand perceptions of the need for awareness and community medical and health support for local families.

There are a limited number of therapists and nutritionists in the area that are trained and specialized in working with patients with eating disorders. The school systems see a dire need to address this topic appropriately with young people.

“As a Youth Services Coordinator working with high school students, I have to be aware of the risks and concerns that students may have and the resources that are available to students and families,” said board member Michelle Mayfield. “One of the concerns students have expressed is about body image, eating and nutrition and the balance of all those things. Aubrey’s Song Foundation is a great resource for educating not only myself and my counterparts in other schools but students and families as well. The more we educate ourselves and others on these issues, the more we can help with the prevention of disordered eating.”

In order to help fill that gap in resources, volunteers signed up to speak to students throughout the school year about positive body image and eating disorders. Speakers will use a 50-minute presentation, created by clinical psychologist Kendra Gray, addresses how to answer questions from the students and to better understand the basics of eating disorders so they are prepared and informed.

Gray, who is also an ASF board member said, “I have seen the devastation eating disorders can cause to individuals’ physical, emotional, and mental health. Eating disorders can deeply affect family members and loved ones as well. But I believe full recovery from eating disorders is possible. I also believe eating disorders are preventable. And one way to launch prevention efforts is to help young people reject the diet culture, fatphobia, and learn to embrace their bodies.”

Gray brings 17 years of experience as clinical supervisor of eating disorders at Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders in Nashville, Tenn., to Aubrey’s Song mission.

Aubrey’s Song feels it is important to recognize the pressures of society and media on young people’s perception of the ideal body, help to eliminate negative and defeating self-esteem caused by these external pressures of body shaming and bullying through empowerment.

The ultimate goal of this presentation is to reiterate that “everybody is unique, our size, our height, our features.”

Due to the high attendance of the initial training, ASF will be hosting another soon. If interested, call 270-852-6514 for more information.

August 28, 2019 | 3:15 am

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