Changing the Conversation for Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2014

Hi everybody! My name is Jess Pawluk, and I’m currently a practicum student at Hopewell completing my Bachelor of Social Work. I started my placement in January, right in the thick of planning for this year’s Eating Disorder Awareness Week (February 2nd-8th, 2014). Now it’s my pleasure to look back, recap, and reflect on all the events that went on throughout EDAW this year.

The theme of this year’s EDAW was Changing the Conversation aimed at examining how we define “health” and “beauty” as a culture. One of our fabulous committee members designed our poster that did a great job of capturing our theme.

Fitting with this year’s theme, we decided to try out some new ideas to promote EDAW and to add a twist to returning events . As always, EDAW was launched with a proclamation from Mayor of Ottawa Jim Watson, but this year he provided us with a video proclamation as well! Check it out here!

We started an online scavenger hunt on Twitter using #EDAWHunt that encouraged our followers to look through our website and other eating disorder resources by responding to questions we posed via Twitter. We also asked our followers to respond to fun questions and clues such as sending us examples of their favorite body-positive quotes, pictures, and songs. This was one follower's response to "What is your fave body-positive song?":

The conversations we held during EDAW were numerous and varied: Dr. George Tasca gave a talk at Hopewell on binge eating disorder; Body Image Positive held a group discussion on body image and gender; and Hopewell presented our Celebrate EveryBody discussion (which encourages taking a critical eye to media ideals of “beauty”) at the University of Ottawa, Carleton, YouthNet, and Somerset-West CHC’s afterschool programs. Thanks for helping us change the conversation!

We also spread crocheted butterflies in Hopewell’s colors (blues and golds) all around the city, attached to inspiring quotes about self-love and acceptance.

Students at Algonquin College were given one of our butterflies and something delicious in exchange for sharing a body positive message on a post-it for other students. And Carleton’s Womyn's Centre held two “Treat Yourself” sales to raise awareness and funds!
Algonquin "Positive Message" Event
Algonquin "Positive Message" Event

Carleton Events
Carleton Events

In that same spirit, Moksha Yoga Orleans put up a fantastic display of positive messages on the mirror of their change rooms. I couldn’t get a picture (cameras and change rooms don’t mix) but I did drop off some of our butterflies for participants in Moksha’s Karma Class that week, and enjoyed a class myself! All of the proceeds from Moksha’s by-donation Karma Classes, as well as Elevate Yoga’s Elevate Your Charity classes, were donated to Hopewell for the month of February. Thanks again, folks!

Throughout the week our poster and displays were set-up in various location around the city. Here are some of them:

Ottawa Public Library - Main Branch

Algonquin Bookstore

Ottawa Public Library - Rideau
And finally, as a twist on our traditional annual art show, we decided to expand “art” to include not only visual, but also performance art! At Pressed Café we hosted "The Wrap-Up", a fabulous Friday night of poetry, dance, music, and spoken word. Huge thanks to all of the artists who participated, and to everyone who came out to celebrate!