Leaders Creating Leaders for Tomorrow

Project B.L.O.O.M. seeks to support adolescent girls in underserved areas

Kiaira Anderson and Maia Singleton Maia Singleton and Kiaira Anderson

February 15, 2024

By Matt Crouch

AUBURN, Alabama – Managing mental health can be a challenge for anyone, but especially young girls experiencing physical and emotional changes. Wanting to provide support for this population of young women, Harrison College of Pharmacy students Kiaira Anderson and Maia Singleton are working together to build a program that helps adolescent females in underserved areas to grow in the maturation of society and developments in life that align with improving social-emotional skills.

Supporting Anderson and Singleton in their project is the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship of Alabama. The pair were named Schweitzer Fellows in the spring and the program is their fellowship project. Alabama Schweitzer Fellows are competitively chosen from students enrolled in graduate and professional schools around the state, who demonstrate a passion for cultivating positive change in Alabama communities where the need is greatest.

Their project is called B.L.O.O.M., which stands for Becoming a Loving, Open-Minded, Optimistic Me. The program addresses topics associated with the social pressures of life such as creating healthy relationships, building senses of discernment and the impact of social influences.

Working out of Notasulga High School and the 21st Century Afterschool Program, the pair are working directly with females in third through eighth grades. Each week they have themes for the day and tie in an activity that corresponds. The sessions include a variety of topics while also providing guidance regarding how to manage their mental health and the physical changes related to coming of age.

For Anderson, the topic is particularly important after working through her own mental health challenges at a young age.

“I have always been passionate about mental health, especially after challenges at a young age for myself after losing my father,” said Anderson, a native of Selma, Alabama. “Shortly after, my mother, Tameka Anderson placed me in therapy, and I felt that this was the best decision she had made for me. This situation influenced my drive for mental health today and influenced a passion to make sure that individuals around me know that it is okay to not be okay.”

From her own experience, Singleton feels that giving young woman a safe place to talk and ask questions is very valuable during this crucial time.

“My care for this population derived from my own social experiences and I believe I would have benefited in numerous ways if there was a place I felt I could be vulnerable and honest without consequences,” said Singleton, a native of Mobile, Alabama.

Adolescent females go through a period of adjustment in their lives that can ultimately take a mental, emotional and physical toll on their well-being. After researching statistics related to this population, Anderson and Singleton identified specific need to educate young women in relation to their self-perception, emotional comprehension and physical well-being while providing the resources they need to navigate their developmental era.

“Young women typically find it difficult to talk with their parents or guardians regarding personal situations due to social stigmas related to their upbringing,” said Anderson. “Adolescent females need a supportive environment to grow into strong, educated, and successful young women. It is important to offer young women of this generation a space that is judgement free and mentors who can provide unbiased guidance when needed.

“Hopefully, through this experience we are able to create a sustainable bond that extends beyond the duration of the project.”


About the Harrison College of Pharmacy

Auburn University’s Harrison College of Pharmacy is ranked among the top 25 percent of all pharmacy programs in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report. Fully accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the College offers doctoral degrees in pharmacy (Pharm.D.) and pharmaceutical sciences (Ph.D.) while also offering a master’s in pharmaceutical sciences. The College's commitment to world-class scholarship and interdisciplinary research speaks to Auburn's overarching Carnegie R1 designation that places Auburn among the top 100 doctoral research universities in the nation. For more information about the College, please call 334.844.8348 or visit http://pharmacy.auburn.edu.

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Last Updated: February 15, 2024