The founder of a website selling clothing for young women since 2008 says he's grown increasingly concerned with the cyberbullying and body shaming he was seeing online.
Sam Sisakhti said the trend first struck him a few years ago. He told Fox News via email that his company, UsTrendy.com, started contests online inviting customers to post photos of themselves in Us Trendy clothing on social media.
However, what was supposed to be a fun way for fans of the brand to interact soon turned ugly.
“I noticed a lot of cyberbullying and body shaming going on online in the comments of the photos. It got to the point where we literally had to have an employee monitor the comments,” shared Sisakhti.
Instead of ignoring the bad cyber behavior, he's made it his mission to stop the cycle of cyberbullying and body shaming with a new program.
“Believe in Yourself is a national charity which goes into low-income areas around the country and provides girls with special-occasion dresses for any formal event they have coming up. At the same time we bring speakers and mentors into the donation events to speak with the girls about positive body image and believing in themselves,” Sisakhi told us. “This summer we are rolling out mentoring programs which will be in various cities and consist of weekly meetings where girls can come in and speak with mentors.”
The official website for the non-profit organization explained its mission as “dedicated to providing brand-new, unworn designer dresses for girls to wear at school functions. Many teen girls are up against unobtainable social standards placed upon them-which are not just unhealthy, but often times unaffordable. In an effort to close this gap, The Believe In Yourself Project is dedicated to the gainful advancement and empowerment of young women with a gift of confidence.”
Additionally, the program is launching a virtual component on Facebook Live and online webinars “which will be interactive for the girls to speak and interact with inflectional and inspirational women who are pursuing their dreams and/or have overcome body image issues. The mentors can speak at donations for a one-time obligation, participate in the weekly mentoring groups, and/or participate in Facebook Live and online seminars,” explained Sisakhti.
Sisakhti shared advice for any young woman who is experiencing cyberbullying and/or body shaming.
“Our exterior state has no reflection of our ability, aptitude or self-worth. Know that cyberbullying and body shaming is just a tactic to try to imprison you or hold you back,” advised Sisakhti. “Ignore it, be free, and pursue the life that you have always imagined.”
Fox News.com Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers. You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.