With the help of an iPhone application, teenage girls have a tool to fight back against the bullying, negativity and emotional perils they can face every day.
The program Beautiful You was developed by a group of Indiana students to help women see the beauty inside themselves.
Quotes such as “I am where I am because I believe in all possibilities” provide inspiration. They come from a variety of authors, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Whoopi Goldberg.
Users can reflect on their life’s callings, if they feel they need to meet a particular body image, and how they can make others feel better. People can share their own reflections and post encouragement to others.
The Rehs File
Name: Cory Rehs
Home: Center Grove area
Education: Senior at Indiana State University
Major: Information technology services
Career plans: Computer programming
Parents: Pete and Karin Rehs
About Beautiful You
What is it?
An iPhone app designed to encourage females throughout their daily lives, interact with others and be inspirations to those around them.
Who can use it?
The app is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S, and 5, as well as iPod Touch and iPad. But it requires the iOS operating system to do so.
Where to get it?
Beautiful You is available through Apple’s App Store for 99 cents.
What are its features?
Challenge — Users can take advantage of this tool to set goals and map out a way to achieve their dreams and commitments. This section is intended to allow females to take ownership of their lives and to grow in beautiful ways.
Encouragements — Includes quotes and personal messages to inspire people.
Reflection — Meant to document personal thoughts, to become more aware in their lives.
Interaction — This section will allow females to post positive and inspiring messages to others. The goal is to create a community-type setting where females of all ages can come and be encouraged.
Beautiful You was created to empower women and provide a social network to help each other. They can use the program to set goals, interact with other girls who have the app and create inspiring messages to others.
Developed in part by Greenwood native Cory Rehs, as well as two students from St. Mary’s College near South Bend, it takes advantage of everyday technology to make a difference in girls’ lives.
“Encouragement is needed for so many females, including ourselves. We wanted to use this to help a little bit with that,” said Monica Murphy, who came up with the idea for Beautiful You.
The idea for the app came from Murphy and a friend, sophomore Meghan Roder. Murphy, a senior, was Roder’s resident assistant in the dorm last year. The two became close friends and started working on projects to empower women and girls.
Both women are students at St. Mary’s College, and last year they started mentoring young girls in the South Bend area.
During their time working with young women, they found that a lot of the girls had issues with cutting, looking at themselves in the mirror and hating who they were.
“We really wanted to speak truth into females’ lives of all ages on a broader level. A lot of girls are on their phones these days, and a lot have iPhones, so we thought, ‘Let’s do an app,’” Murphy said.
Beautiful You contains a series of features that offer encouragement, let users post inspirational phrases and take assessments to gauge their self-esteem and work on ways to raise it. Users are challenged to set goals and enhance their personal growth.
Every day, a new life lesson is featured on the site.
An interactive portal allows people to touch base with other users to share thoughts, concerns and successes.
‘Grueling couple of weeks’
Roder and Murphy wrote the content for the app then started looking for a computer programmer who could take their words and code it to make it work on the iPhone.
While at a conference at St. Mary’s, Murphy met Sister Alma Mary Anderson, who teaches computer graphics at Indiana State University. After Murphy described her vision for Beautiful You, Anderson told her she had the perfect person to help.
“Cory (Rehs) is an excellent student. He is very knowledgeable and creative in his programming and his approach to problem-solving, and his personality recommends him as a good listener with good suggestions,” Anderson said. “It wasn’t hard to think of him when Monica talked with me about her desire to have an app for her project.”
Rehs, an information technology services major, had been searching for an opportunity to publish software and develop an app.
They called him, and after hearing their plan, he immediately agreed to help.
“I definitely wanted to build up some experience in developing applications. I was wanting to get into that, so this was a good chance to get that experience,” he said. “And I knew it would be good to put on my resume.”
At the time, Rehs was unfamiliar with developing applications on the iPhone or for the iOs operating system that it uses. He spent the summer studying its intricacies and language. He bought books, read through the chapters and played around developing simple applications.
When he felt comfortable with the process, he started writing the program.
By the time he returned to Indiana State, the application was nearly finished. He completed the final stages of it, consulted with Murphy and Roder that is was what they wanted and submitted it to Apple for approval.
“It’s a long, grueling couple of weeks to find out if your application was accepted,” he said. “I had to make sure the user interface was right, had to make sure there were no bugs or copyright infringements. And for some reason, I couldn’t have anything in there that mentioned Steve Jobs’ name.”
‘I felt accomplished’
Around the beginning of November, Rehs learned that Apple had accepted the app. Beautiful You would be available in the iPhone App Store for 99 cents. While 30 percent of each sale goes to Apple for hosting the app in its store, the remaining portion is split among Rehs, Murphy and Roder.
“I couldn’t believe I was a published developer. I felt accomplished,” he said.
For Rehs, the project fit into other computer programming work that he’s lined up at Indiana State. He and a friend are working on an ordering system for the school’s college of business. Students who spend much of their time in the school’s buildings can use the app to order food and drinks ahead of time and have it ready in the college of business’ snack shop.
He also is helping to create a video-sharing database for the National Youth Sports Network. Young athletes will be able to upload videos, statistics and other information about themselves for potential coaches and colleges to search through. The tool will make recruiting for athletics much easier, he said.
“It’s a very busy time for me. I have a light class load this semester, but I have a heavy workload to replace it,” he said.
Feedback on Beautiful You has been positive, including the reviews from Apple and people who have purchased it.
Murphy and Roder have hopes to market the app at women’s conferences and events throughout the area. While they intend to spread their message to as many people as they can, the true measure of their success is in the individuals who have benefited from their work.
“If we can help that one person, we’ve done our jobs,” Murphy said.