The Beyond Beautiful Girls Empowerment Academy was founded by Dr. Jasmine Zapata, aka “Dr. Jaz,” an award-winning author, local pediatrician and public health specialist, to address the need for more socio-emotional support for young girls. Beyond Beautiful books and programming have been utilized in various schools and nonprofits across the country and even abroad, and in early June, a Dane County cohort launched at the East YMCA. On Saturday, July 9, 1-4 pm, the girls and their families will enjoy lunch and a DJ at a Red Carpet Celebration to mark the halfway point in their Beyond Beautiful Empowerment Summer Camp.

The Beyond Beautiful Empowerment Academy is a unique, evidence-based program aligned with national education standards. It exists to remind young girls, especially girls that experienced adversity or trauma, that they have tremendous inner qualities, and that when those qualities are nurtured and unlocked, girls possess the power to overcome any situation in life and still accomplish their dreams and goals.

The Beyond Beautiful mission is to help girls increase their self esteem, confidence and leadership skills. Through books, positive affirmations, music and interactive conversations, the program focuses on the importance of self worth and self care; confidence, resilience and purpose; along with fostering excitement about reading, belonging, fun, friendships, memories and more. The Beyond Beautiful-YMCA partnership was made possible by generous financial support from the CUNA Mutual Foundation and Old National Bank.

“Beyond Beautiful means that in addition to your outward appearance, true beauty and power is within,” said Dr. Zapata. “I’m so incredibly excited to partner with the YMCA to spread this message and celebrate these incredible young ladies this weekend at the red carpet empowerment event.”

YMCA of Dane County President and CEO Mark Westover said, “We are incredibly proud to partner with Dr. Zapata and her team to help make this incredible program available to girls in our community. Giving kids the self-confidence to thrive is one of the most important things the YMCA does. When I learned about Beyond Beautiful, I immediately reached out to Dr. Zapata so that we could bring this program to the community.”

Dr. Zapata and Beyond Beautiful book series co-authors from across the country will be in attendance Saturday signing books, holding breakout discussions with the girls and enjoying music from the DJ. “Mama Jewel,” Dr. Zapata’s mother, will lead a special activity with parents in attendance. Dr. Zapata and the campers will close the event by performing and singing the signature Beyond Beautiful Girls Empowerment anthem.

Members of the media are invited to attend and see participants walk the red carpet and interview program leaders and participants alike:

Beyond Beautiful Red Carpet Celebration
East YMCA,
711 Cottage Grove Road,
Madison 1-4 pm,
Saturday, Jul 9, 2022

About Jasmine Zapata, MD, MPH Dr. Zapata, aka “Dr. Jaz,” is an award-winning author, pediatrician and the founder of the Beyond Beautiful Girls Empowerment Movement. Her inspirational books, songs and curricula have been translated in Swahili and Korean. Her books and courses have been adopted by school systems, libraries, churches and community restorative courts across the U.S. Dr. Jaz’s mission in life is to Heal, Uplift and Inspire.

About the YMCA of Dane County The Y is a cause-driven nonprofit that makes an impact through numerous community partnerships. The Y provides about $400,000 in annual financial assistance to ensure that its memberships and programs are available to all. Across Dane County, it helps kids grow physically and emotionally through the area’s largest child care operation and a diverse selection of sports, fitness and swim programs. The Y helps adults and families lead healthy lifestyles and manage chronic illnesses and keeps seniors socially connected and active. Find out more at