The original essence of Beauty should be a socially useful and responsible activity, able to make people live better. The common perception instead leads to think since junior high school that to be suitable for vocational training courses are the less talented kids. The real drama is that even the latter often end up believing it too.
This happens because the very first approach (educational, social, institutional) towards young people who choose or are pushed to choose Beauty as a career is characterized by a deep sense of devaluation of the profession. In fact, the waste, that is to say, those who approach that world, already have a destiny of separate waste disposal! Those who “choose” to become Beauty operators often suffer this “destiny” that goes so far as to undermine self-esteem, the perception of their own value and professional identity. All this is a paradox considering that Beauty is a fundamental dimension of human life and that young people in training will one day have to take care of the Beauty of the other.
And to think that the Vocational Training Centers were born from an enlightened inspiration of Don Bosco, who taught young people to work with their hands as well as their heads without feeling discarded. Unfortunately, over the years the original message of solidarity and help in the growth of young people has often been distorted by the lack of attention of the institutions, and many young people “discarded” from society have begun to identify with the failure attributed to them. This scenario is repeated throughout the world and generates a school drop-out rate of 93%, i.e. almost all pupils leave the sector by the age of 21.
In Italy alone, there are 424 accredited CFPs in the Wellness sector that contain over 40 thousand young people in training. They are young people with whom I have had the privilege to work in internship projects: talented young people, sensitive but misunderstood by families, institutions and society!
The general discouragement that follows is expressed in repeated disconfirmation, in negative frustrations and disqualification that lead to the atrophy of social feeling: this does not favor the maturation of the individual personality, on the contrary it prevents the boy from overcoming his state of induced inferiority.
Young people need to be guided both to an awareness of their resources and limits in terms of skills and abilities (“knowing”, “knowing how to do”) and to the construction of an image of themselves as a person, able to define who they are, who they can be in the future and who they want to be (“knowing how to be”).
The school experience deeply influences the student’s life project (Guichard,2003).
For these reasons, through my onlus Beauty Force, I gave life to the project Proud to be a Universal Beauty Pro, to contrast the dichotomy that the Beauty sector lives today. On the one hand, the cosmetics economy has been in continuous growth for over a hundred years, and enjoys great prosperity; on the other hand, there is a completely distorted vision on the part of people who often do not believe in the seriousness and possibility of growth and development of this sector.
Over time I have promoted several cultural initiatives aimed at supporting the Beauty Made in Italy sector and I coined the slogan “Beauty is a successful choice” to promote the social awareness campaign in junior high schools in favor of the Proud to be project, because I believe that the professional choice conscious of one’s training path is central in building the identity of a young person. I have long dreamed of a High School of Beauty that can also give access to higher education.
Proud to Be encourages personal and professional realization, it aims to help CFP students to perceive positively the school and themselves, motivating them to exercise active control over the progress of their training path, so as to support the construction of their professional identity.
The mission of the project is psycho-socio-pedagogical, the objective is to act on the different levels that make up the social fabric to break down some stereotypes, accompanying the vocational training centers and their social actors towards a dimension of self-esteem and professional pride.
Proud to be is also based on the ecological approach: the environment and the different contexts of life exert strong mutual influences, which is why it is possible to implement interventions that start from one context involving others, so as to bring benefits to all those involved.
The goal to be achieved, however, is always the promotion of self-esteem, trust, security, social interest, with proactive and cooperative activities among students in social and performance situations.
The first two training plans of each CFP should be called:
The levels of analysis and intervention already identified are 4:
– The microsystem: life contexts and people with whom you have a direct relationship, and who create social networks;
– The organization: set of microsystems in which the subject actively participates, for example the school with its structural and organizational characteristics and internal relations;
– Community: the interconnection between individuals and territory, understood as a network of organizations;
– The macrosystem, which is the level of national and supranational institutions.
In practice, it is necessary to work at different scales to implement significant improvements, and it is necessary to activate dynamics in which individuals take an active part in decision-making processes in the institutions, programs and environments that concern them.
In addition, we have identified ten areas of intervention – for example, actions of analysis and verification of the above-mentioned aspects of the CFP involved – in which the objective is to assess where it is necessary to intervene, and where instead only strengthen or enhance. The outcomes of these actions are presented to the contact persons of the schools with meetings, written and audiovisual documents.
Primary, however, remains to strengthen the educational relationship, and the teacher here has a central role because it helps the student to build his or her own identity, thus performing a supportive and encouraging function: it stimulates the student’s mind, fostering and developing the natural “self-actualization movement” of his or her potential and spurs the student to the participatory dimension, to confrontation and discussion.
The school must accompany the boy to get in touch with his inner world, promoting and realizing in him self-esteem and self-efficacy that vary in relation to school outcomes, visibility in the classroom, recognition of their value and their way of being part of it.
And let us never forget that:
young people are 20% of the population but 100% of our Future! Let’s guide them towards a better future for them and for humanity. For me this is true sustainability and integrated ecology!