“I was bullied as a kid and I had low self-esteem because of it. I was made fun of because of my weight and it just sort of escalated.” Carrie Severson spent eight long years of her childhood being harassed, bullied and severely depressed. “I had to leave my hometown, discover who I was and figure out a way out of the darkness on my own.”
Part of the journey in escaping that darkness was empowering herself to continue moving forward in life and making some bold choices. 5 years ago she left her stable 9 to 5 job to launch the non-profit Severson sisters www.seversonsisters.org and SuperGirl Club.
Severson says she went from talking about the person she wanted to be to actually being that person.
“It is surreal to look at what we’ve created and the number of lives we’ve impacted. I was able to take something really negative and turn it into light. It is my purpose in life to help others ignite their light.”
Severson has teamed up with psychologists and social workers to create specific programs that deal with the complex problems teen girls face today with bullying and social media. It’s so bad that many refer to it as social combat.
Due to budget cuts and overwhelmed teachers, Severson says schools are not doing a good job cracking down on bullying. So she and her team are taking their efforts straight into the neighborhoods. “It can’t stop at school, it has to be a community outreach.”
In 2016 they will continue to give girls the opportunity to create clubs to fight bullying and increase self-esteem and self-worth. The cost is $50 to $75 dollars a year with varying degrees of support for the clubs from Severson and her highly trained team of experts. The program started in Arizona but has since branched out. The greater mission is wide-spread national growth.
Severson says parents would be shocked to know the extent of the sexual and vicious online behavior teenagers take part in — much of it in plain sight. On Snapchat, she says, she’s seen girls doing naked cartwheels and smoking pot before school. “All the things they can’t get away with they put on Snapchat.”
When Severson first launched the SuperGirl program she says she was flooded with emails about suicide attempts, “I’d wake up in the morning and I would have 30 or 40 emails on suicide.”
Having walked this dark path and come out the other side, it is a mission she takes very seriously. “Bullying is a repetitive pattern that turns into a power shift.”