Beginning this academic year, Aubrey's Song Foundation plans to launch an awareness campaign in middle and high schools throughout the region.

Aubrey's Song, a local nonprofit that provides support for people with eating disorders, formed in 2006 in memory of Aubrey Michelle Clark, who died from complications of an eating disorder.

Students in Webster, Union, Daviess, Warren, McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, Todd, Simpson, Logan and Hancock counties will learn about body image, nutrition and other related issues in 50-minute presentations created by Kendra Gray, a Henderson clinical psychologist who has 17 years of experience with eating disorders.

However, a volunteer task force is needed to implement this program fully, said Carolyn Ferber, Aubrey's Song executive director.

So far, 23 people have agreed to assist.

"We have a couple of dietitians who are coming in. They want to speak with athletes at area colleges," Ferber said.

A representative from Girls Inc. wants to learn and share the information with that nonprofit's clients and has agreed to go into schools to spread the message. Family resource coordinators from the Henderson, McLean and Owensboro school districts have volunteered.

"We'd love to have one or two in each county," Ferber said. "We'd love to have retired nurses and educators."

Speakers would be asked to make presentations two or three times each academic year.

First, they need to be trained. The first training session is from 9:15 a.m. to noon Tuesday at the Logsdon Community Center, 2400 Friendship Drive. For more information or to register as a volunteer, contact Ferber at 270-852-6514 or by email at info@aubreyssong.org.

Ferber hopes to solicit more volunteers from local colleges when students return to class. Another training session may be scheduled to accommodate that group, so volunteers who can't take the class Tuesday may have another option.

Earlier this summer, Aubrey's Song asked family resource coordinators in the region's schools to complete a survey in an effort to assess concerns about eating disorders and body image within elementary, middle and high schools.

So far, 19 surveys have been returned, documenting at least 39 reports of eating disorders last year. Three of those cases were children under the age of 11, Ferber said.

Society, in general, has created an unhealthy ideal of what bodies should look like, she said.

"This program is about body acceptance and understanding the influences of social media, TV and magazines," Ferber said.

Renee Beasley Jones, 270-228-2835, rbeasleyjones@messenger-inquirer.com

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