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Partner: Congreso de Latinos Unidos

Sponsor: The City of Philadelphia Department of Human Services


Teaching Artist: Patricia A. Barrera. Brad Carney

Assistants: James Dunn, Samuel Rodriguez

Site: Congreso de Latinos Unidos (South Wall)


About the Project

Although other people’s behavior can affect our self-esteem, we are often our own worst critics. We are all guilty of thinking negative thoughts about ourselves. When this becomes a pattern, we start to believe in the negativity, we lose confidence and we feel defeated. In order to change this, we must make an active effort to replace our pessimistic thoughts by saturating the brain with optimism.Your self-esteem is what you think and feel about yourself, not what someone else thinks or feels about you. It is important because if we want to get along with others, we have to feel good about ourselves.


Through reflection activities, students learned about different ways to build self-esteem and accentuate the positive. Students worked on activities towards becoming better and more effective human beings. They learned that the more pleased they are with their self-improvement efforts, the happier and more successful they will become. They took a realistic look at their strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes by completing a personal inventory. This helped them know what goals are realistic to pursue, what aspects of their personality and lifestyle they seek to improve, and how to identify their weaknesses without worrying about how others perceive them. Students learned that self-knowledge helps lay the foundation for high self-esteem.

Students created “Positivity Jars” where every day they added a positive note every time something good happened.  They also created “Self-Collage Posters” using pictures, words, and symbols clipped from magazines that represented their personal strengths. Through “Abstract Painting” they learned about how every mistake is an opportunity to make something beautiful. Students also created “Gratitude Mandalas” celebrating our oneness, in gratitude to the Earth, nature, and all forms of life.

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