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Today@Sam Article


Sophomore Works To Break The Cycle Of Insecurity, Put 'Girls Above Society'

Oct. 17, 2014
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Lauren Galley in front of Alpha Delta Pi house
Sophomore psychology major Lauren Galley found a home and inspiration with Alpha Delta Pi on campus, who have both provided her support and inspiration for her participation in the anti-bullying ad campaign "Mean Stinks." —Photo by Brian Blalock


“Empowering one another, instead of tearing each other down, gives us the power to gang up for good as we unite, learn from one another and rock the world,” said Lauren Galley, a sophomore psychology major at Sam Houston State University.

As girl-to-girl bullying continues to rise, Galley has taken on a mission to empower females to think before they speak, type or text.

It’s a message Galley is passionate about, both as a speaker and as someone who has experienced the effects of bullying first-hand.

Growing up in Spring, Galley enjoyed school until what she calls a “catty thing over a boy” turned ugly with someone she had thought was a friend.

“It escalated really quickly because it was posted on MySpace and other people saw it,” she said. “It became a thing where people chose sides, and I felt uncomfortable going to school.”

At that point, Galley had a choice to make—she could either let it get the best of her, or she could do something about it.

For a while, she chose the former.

“It became this huge thing, but I never really told anyone about it; I thought I could handle it, that it wasn’t a big deal,” Galley said. “Eventually, I started finding excuses not to go or to skip out on cheer practice.

“My mom noticed and finally got me to tell her. I was really glad after I did, because while the girl didn’t get into any trouble at school, it helped me a lot by just getting it off of my chest and figuring out ways to deal with it,” Galley said. “I learned things to say to her that could stop it in a civil way. I had been bowing down to her, which fueled her even more.”

Galley's Teen Vogue ad
Galley's Teen Vogue "Mean Stinks" campaign ad.

Through education, Galley learned that bullying stems from insecurity, which creates a vicious circle of insecurity.

“I realized that the bullies are insecure and they bully other girls, which makes them (the victim) insecure,” she said. “I was confident before I was bullied and I lost all that confidence when I started getting bullied. I realized that I was letting someone else affect my self worth and I couldn’t let that happen.”

The result of that experience and the lessons she has derived from it have been life-changing for Galley.

Three years ago, at 17, she created a non-profit organization called Girls Above Society that is dedicated to educating tweens and teens on self-confidence and leadership skills. She has taken that message of empowerment on the road, travelling around the country to share her message of empowerment.

Her experiences also contributed to her decision to study psychology at SHSU.

“I’ve always wanted to work with children and adolescents, which is why I love what I do now. I go out and speak to young girls, typically in middle school and early high school,” she said. “I love helping them, because that's when you’re finding yourself and you’re struggling.”

These experiences have opened many doors for Galley. She has been featured on Fox News, Ked’s Brave Life Project and as a TEDx speaker, and she is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post, as “a voice to young teen girls.” She is a youth advocate for Free2Luv, for which she created the “Free2BeYOU” series and is a teen commentator for Houston Family Magazine.

Most recently, Galley was named an ambassador for Secret Deodorant’s “Mean Stinks” campaign, through which she will compete with 30 other nationwide ambassadors to promote the message of helping “nice” prevail and working to bring an end to girl-to-girl bullying in their areas.

Galley became involved in the campaign as one of Teen Vogue’s “It Girls,” who helps the magazine’s editorial board stay in touch with youth across the country. She will be working on the Mean Girls project through the end of November, when a winner will be decided.

Galley with girls
Galley has been promoting the "Mean Stinks" anti-bullying campaign across the country, with youth of all ages (above), as well as at SHSU (below). —Submitted photos
Galley with SHSU crew

“Girls Above Society is all about promoting self-confidence and leadership skills in young girls, but what comes along with that is the girl-on-girl bullying, which is a topic I’ve been discussing for a while,” she said. “That’s why Mean Stinks chose me to be one of their ambassadors; they saw the work that I was doing and thought it would tie in really well with their mission.”

Through the campaign, Galley has appeared in the October “Mean Stinks” ad in Teen Vogue.

With all of that going on, one might wonder how she manages to do all of these things, while also taking classes at SHSU. She said her passion for the cause keeps her organized.

“I’ve gotten really good at time management. During the week, I’m working on stuff—whether that’s school or Girls Above Society, I just don’t let myself get lazy—and then I have the weekends to travel,” she said. “I work from a to-do list and get those things out of the way.

“When I was in high school, I procrastinated so badly, but when I started doing this, I realized it wasn’t an option,” she said. “I think it’s helped me a lot.”

She’s also recruited her sisters in Alpha Delta Pi sorority to assist her, by setting up informational tables in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area as a means of raising awareness. Her sisters also have been the inspiration for something she adopted for her Mean Stinks campaign.

“Their thing is painting your pinkies blue in support; it’s like making a pinkie promise to end girl-on-girl bullying,” Galley said. “I thought, ‘what a perfect thing for a sorority to do,’ because people often associate sororities with girl bullying.

“They’re very supportive and they’ve been helping as much as they can,” she said. “A big reason I wanted to join a sorority was for networking, to have a group of girls who are supportive of what I do.”

Galley hopes that through her ambassadorship with the Mean Stinks campaign, she will have a larger platform to educate girls, giving them the tools to become confident and empowered in a positive way.

“It’s definitely important because, like in my case, there are so many girls being bullied. A lot of times, girls won’t know what to do, so they’ll hold it in and then you hear about these 12-year-old girls who are committing suicide as a result of their treatment. Afterward, people say that they had no idea,” she said.

“Now, bullying is behind screens on anonymous websites and it’s really hard to track down,” Galley said. “It’s important for people to realize that if it’s happening to you, communicate it to people and get it solved. Even the most confident person can get their feelings hurt when these things occur, so you can’t just let it happen.”



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Girls Above Society publicist Robin Ray contributed to this story.



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