Author Hopes To Boost Girls’ Self-Esteem

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For more than 20 years, Debra Penzone has served as an artistic director, training director, senior vice president, and now president of The Charles Penzone Salons. 

Penzone is considered an expert in fashion and beauty in central Ohio.

However, it was stories about Debbie Miller in middle school that really resonated with roughly 25 girls from Ridgeview Middle School.

“It was a hurtful time to go through that and go through those stages of the "mean girls,” said Debra Penzone, President of Charles Penzone, Inc. “But, I wouldn't change a thing because now, looking back, I think it made me who I am today."

It is a story Penzone shared in her book, Debbie's Club: Discovering My True Beauty For Girls.

Ridgeview Middle School's Principal Natalie James said when she read the book she knew she had to invite Penzone to talk to some of her students.

"Our young girls have so many issues that they deal with they need to feel inspired, they need to feel welcomed, and that someone cares about them,” James said.

The girls who attended the session with Penzone agreed.

"It can be rough sometimes,” seventh grader Raina Jackson said.

Jackson said just before the session, she was upset over something a group of mean girls said about her.

She said meeting with Penzone, and other classmates encouraged her and reminded her that her opinion matters most.

“If you were to ask me a week ago, I would have said I think I need to lose weight, I think I need to put a little more lipstick on,” Jackson said. “But now I see myself as ambitious and now I see myself as beautiful, inside and also out."

The principal says 25 students were specifically selected for the intimate session. Each received a free copy of Penzone's book.