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Sights High to Meet the Needs of Struggling Adolescent Girls

Lisa Armstrong

Submitted by
Jasmine Nelson

This story appeared in the Winter 2014 RDC Foundation e-newsletter.

She didn’t come from an affluent family, but it was the values instilled within her home regarding community involvement that eventually led Lisa Armstrong, a fourth year Bachelor of Arts, Psychology major,  to the doors of RDC.
Coming from a 100-year-old farm near Elnora, Lisa is passionate about helping youth – especially young girls. As a figure skating coach, Lisa saw firsthand the need there is in today’s youth for positive self-esteem role models.

"Figure skating is a very aesthetic based sport, and with female skaters, especially those of about ages 10-17, there is usually a lot of focus on their body,” shares Lisa. “I found quite a few of the girls I skated with or coached showed symptoms of disordered eating – not necessarily eating disorders, but signs of poor body image and unhealthy eating patterns. I didn’t know how to help them, because I didn’t have any knowledge about self-esteem, eating disorders or body image. So finding the Psychology program was perfect."

"When I get my degree, my goal is to help youth, before any signs and symptoms appear, to develop the skills needed to create and maintain a healthy perception of themselves."

Throughout her studies at RDC, Lisa has maintained a 3.97 GPA, but her studies won’t stop here. She plans to pursue her Masters in Health Psychology, ideally at the University of Victoria. So how does Lisa maintain high aspirations, even after a gruelling four years of study? She had some help along the way.

“I was surprised at how motivating the professors are. They genuinely help you get to that next level.  Not only in your GPA, but they also helped me find volunteer placements and paid school-related work. I've improved and achieved in a lot of different aspects of my life because of them.”

Through her studies, Lisa “fell in love with the idea of learning about why humans do what they do.”

With a likely opportunity to work at RDC as a research staff in the spring, Lisa is thankful for the opportunities a smaller college has granted her.

“Another reason I stayed at RDC, is not only the student-teacher relationships, but the student-to-student relationships. It’s not a dog-eat-dog environment; we are here to help each other. And since its small class sizes, you get to know your classmates through each year, so that by fourth year, you know mostly everybody in the program and you support each other. So now, my personal life is entangled with the community and RDC, which I think is a good thing.”

Lisa has proven that it’s not your past that determines your future – but what you do with what’s in your hand. And because of donors like you, she has enough in her hands to follow her dreams.

“To be able to come to college and receive those scholarships just shows that hard work pays off and I can get my undergrad degree without tonnes of loans, because that’s the only way I would’ve been able to do it.


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