Program: Master of Science in Social Administration, with a certificate in Child, Youth & Families and School Social Work Year: Second-year
Leah Berdysz is on a mission to empower girls to be their strongest, healthiest and happiest selves. That mission was the basis for her startup, Empowered & Poised, an organization that offers programming for girls to enhance mental, social and physical well-being.
And it also led her to write her forthcoming book, Conscious Empowerment: A Guide to Helping Girls Build Self-esteem & Confidence (set to be published by New Degree Press in the summer of 2021).
Berdysz was inspired to take on these initiatives after managing her own struggle with mental health, over the years. With the support of a loving support system and education, she understood the symptoms that came from her anxiety.
“With my experience of over 10 years working with youth, it only felt right to use the knowledge I have gained along my journey to support others,” she said.
Originally from Twinsburg, Ohio, Berdysz graduated from John Carroll University with degrees in exercise science and entrepreneurship. That’s when she founded Empowered & Poised, driven by the realization that approaches to female empowerment are often limited by a one-size-fits-all approach.
Berdysz’s book explores how race, culture, ethnic backgrounds and socioeconomic statuses contribute to how girls develop self-esteem, and hopes it will help individuals tailor their approaches to helping girls in their lives.
“All too often, I found myself reading books and articles that weren’t inclusive and failed to highlight how an individual’s unique background plays a significant role in their development,” she said. “This book provides principles to help all girls develop into strong, capable, and confident young women.”
Following the completion of her master’s degree, Berdysz hopes to become a Licensed Independent Social Worker and continue working on Empowered & Poised.