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Meet 2024 Grantee: Body Empowerment Project

This year, the Spruce Foundation was honored to provide grants to four youth-serving nonprofits working to uplift Philadelphia’s young people and create a brighter future for the city as a result.

This week, we’re spotlighting the Body Empowerment Project, an organization working to decrease eating disorder risk in adolescents, equipping them with skills to live peacefully and healthfully in their bodies. Clara Pritchett, Executive Director, Amanda Moreno, Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair, and Christina Miranda, Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair, participated in these Q&As to shed light on their incredible impact.

What is your organization’s mission and how are you working to impact Philly youth?

Body Empowerment Project’s mission is to reduce eating disorder risk and give adolescents the skills to live peacefully and healthfully in their bodies through meaningful near-peer interactions. Our primary program, our youth program, is a 10-week school-based program with three main objectives:

  • Improve body image and self-esteem in adolescents
  • Decrease eating disorder risk
  • Create a supportive community with strong mentorship

Each program workshop is one hour long and consists of a series of student-led discussions, informational videos, individual reflections, and team-based activities. Workshops are led by local young people ages 18-25. In association with UPENN and CHOP, we conducted research on our program that shows it clinically significantly decreases eating disorder risk and increases body appreciation in our participants. 

If your organization had a theme song, what would it be?

Pretty much anything by India Arie.

What’s a favorite memory during your time at your organization?

Any time I get to hear participants speak about the program is always a fond memory. We had a student speak as part of a pitch competition, and hearing her talk about what the program meant to hear was incredibly touching and beautiful. (I included some of her speech below). Not only was her speech amazing, having everyone in the audience tell her how amazing, beautiful, and brave she was and watching her light up was an incredible experience.

“This program was incredibly important to my friends and me. I saw other people who looked like, felt like, and understood me. People I identified with were exercising and feeling good in their bodies, which made me feel better in my own. This group opened a life-changing door for me that was a stepping stone into my self-love journey.”

In 10-20 years, what’s one thing you hope youth look back on and remember about being involved in your organization?

I hope that our students will take with them that no matter what messages they receive otherwise, their appearance, size, shape, or identities don’t change their worth or right to happiness, love, and self-expression.

What’s your vision for future generations in Philadelphia?

I envision a group of self-confident leaders and activists creating the change they want to see in their communities.

How will your Spruce grant help you see your vision through?

This Spruce grant will allow us to continue to expand our programming to new sites over the 2024-2025 school year. Additionally, being able to connect with people invested in our mission and vision for the future and youth-centered work broadly is invaluable. Lastly, being in a cohort of other organizations to be able to connect and collaborate can only elevate our work.

For over a decade, the Spruce Foundation has provided annual grants to local nonprofits that share our vision for a brighter future for Philadelphia’s young people. From our founding to present day, we’ve believed that empowering the next generation would sow seeds of lasting change in our city. We’re excited to recognize the Body Empowerment Project and each of our 2024 grantees for their impact.