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'Power in You' Touching Teens' Lives

'Power in You' Touching Teens' Lives


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Richard Piatt ReportingUtah's first lady wants to raise self-esteem among young people. Mary Kay Huntsman's 'Power In You' is already touching the lives of thousands of Utah's junior high and high schoolers.

'Power In You' is a full-on campaign, but it uses real people who have survived real, painful situations, to teach young people how to really feel good about who they are.

"My name is Emma, and people call me dumb, and that hurts my feelings."

This sounds strange, but look deeper, and these young people speak to real, painful labels that can hurt and scar. It's part of an exercise at a Power In You conference: A program meant to build self-esteem for impressionable teenagers.

"My name is Nadia and some people label me a terrorist, and that hurts me."

Utah's First Lady, Mary Kay Huntsman, has taken on 'Power In You.'

Mary Kay Huntsman, First Lady of Utah: "This is what I love about it, I don't think anyone is left out. The whole message behind it is 'you know what, everybody has something.'"

Governor Huntsman: "Anyone feels like a dweeb from time to time, yeah me too."

Husband and Governor Jon Huntsman Junior is a speaker. So are athletes, like some ReAl Salt Lake soccer players. All admit they had their own challenges growing up. Teenagers know bullying, name calling and meanness happen. Eric Matthes has a fresh and painful memory from a recent bus ride.

Eric Matthes, Power In You Ambassador: "They said, 'look at that retarded idiot over there staring at us,' or something. And I didn't say anything because I knew they're the ones with the problem."

By sharing these experiences the message is that the poison messages don't have to linger and that masking your pain with drugs and alcohol don't pay off, either. We've all heard it before, but the message now has a new venue: The Power In You, across the state.

It's hard to portray the full effect of the seminar, but it appears to be something that young people can relate to: Everyone can relate to that feeling of not quite fitting in sometimes.

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