Reminding women they are beautiful

by Erica Oglesby

Signs like these are the main purpose of Operation Beautiful.com, started by Caitlin Boyle.

“You are beautiful!” A simple enough phrase, but one that’s turned into a life changer for Caitlin Boyle.

After a rough day, the Charlotte resident wrote the words on a post-it note and stuck it to a mirror in a public bathroom to hopefully lift the spirits of some other down-and-out person. Now, boosting self esteem has turned into Boyle’s day job, and may help her secure $10,000 for Girls on the Run, a Charlotte-based nonprofit.

After hanging up the post-it note, Boyle went home and wrote about it on her blog. Three days later, in June 2009, she’d received so much attention that she decided to start OperationBeautiful.com, and things have snowballed from there.

Now, she’s written a book, been featured on NBC’s Today Show, and received 7,000 post-it notes from around the world.

“I really just wanted to do something nice for someone else, and it kind of went viral,” Boyle said.

Boyle began to see more and more teenage girls participating as the site grew, even though she was aiming at women in their 20s and 30s. Soon, even 10-year-old girls were taking part, and it was an epiphany for Boyle.

“I think it is obvious that (young girls) need something like (OperationBeautiful.com) to boost teen esteem,” Boyle said. And thus, a partnership with Girls on the Run was born.

Intrigued by the young girl’s growing passion for her site, Boyle began coaching a Girls on the Run team for the first time this year. A runner herself, Boyle, loves the concept of Girls on the Run, which uses running to teach girls in third through eighth grades character values and the importance of self worth.

“It is so awesome to see an 8-year-old girl train to run 3.1 miles,” Boyle said.

Now, Boyle’s OperationBeautiful.com is one of 10 finalists in Amway’s Positivity Project contest. Boyle submitted a video about how being positive has affected her life, and how she would spread more positivity if given the grand prize.

“I think (donating the prize money to Girls on the Run) is a great way to spend $10,000,” Boyle said. The money would help 76 low-income girls participate in Girls on the Run.

“I truly believe that Girls on the Run’s mission and purpose aligns perfectly with Operation Beautiful,” Boyle said. “It is taking the Operation Beautiful message of positivity, hope and kindness to strangers and showing young girls how they can do it in their everyday lives.”

Boyle and others will travel to Hagerstown, Md., on Dec. 13 for an evening with radio and television host John Tesh, who will announce the winner.

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