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For Good

True Body stretches work across globe

Stacy Sims radiates energy and grace when she moves. And as founder and director of the non-profit True Body Project, she moves a lot.

In its five years of existence, the TBP has produced a literary journal, a documentary film and five theatrical works, one in Los Angeles, one in New York and three in the TBP's home base, Cincinnati. There are no paid staff members; Sims' computer is her office.

"When I started out I had a strong belief in the notion that freedom comes in movement," says Sims, who turned 50 this year. Through movement, emotional self-examination and critical thinking about the body and body images, she has created a flexible curriculum that can be melded to fit a wide range of needs.

TBP started as an intensive six-week summer session of ArtWorks, where 13 teen girls studied body, body image, gender and media as it relates to body. The project has morphed into day-long workshops, in-house workshops at children's hospital's psychiatric wards and even a week-long workshop with sex-trafficking survivors in Cambodia.

Each project grows organically from partnerships with other non-profits, arts groups and individuals. All revolve around the theme of consciously connecting mind and body, influenced in no small part by Sims' background as founder and former owner of Pendleton Pilates. "We create a whole sense of self," she says.

Sims' journey to Cambodia earlier this year helped kick off her year of dance - her personal way of celebrating her half-century mark and, she says, walking the talk. "I'm engaging in my own true body curriculum," she says.

In Phnom Penh, she worked with leaders from Transitions Global, an organization that works to help survivors of sex trafficking recapture the basic human rights of freedom and hope. The result was an inspiring beginning to a new year of growth for the TBP, which survives for the most part thanks to donations from "beautiful" supporters, Sims says.

"We've really done an extraordinary amount of work on good will and good intentions, not a lot of money and infrastructure," Sims says. "It always blows me away."

Do Good:

Find your authentic self. Join in the TBP at a morning workshop, Wed., April 6, from 9-11 a.m.

• Find out about Transitions Global. Enjoy an evening of conversation with Sims and Transitions Global founder James Pond Thursday, April 14, at Lululemon.

• Join the movement. Support the True Body Project.

By Elissa Yancey
Photo courtesy of Stacy Sims

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