Lacing Up for A Lifetime of Achievement

Girls who have experienced abuse or are at-risk are often in juvenile detention homes, residential treatment, foster care, and simply don’t have access to group athletics or fitness programs. They can build self esteem, become empowered, and foster hope and healing with health and fitness programs.

Girls With Sole founder and executive director, Liz Ferro was once a foster child and childhood victim of sexual abuse. When she didn’t receive the support she needed after being abused by a next door neighbor, she experienced many dark times, and needed to find an outlet and a place to feel good about herself and her body. That outlet was sports and fitness.

Because sports and fitness saved her, she wanted that same kind of intervention for the at-risk girls in her community and girls who have experienced abuse of any type whatsoever. She began running with the idea of Girls With Sole and hasn’t stopped.

It is Ferro’s mission to show the girls that fitness and wellness in the form of running, yoga, dance, and traditional team sports, along with proper nutrition- can empower their minds, bodies, and souls. She says, ‘These kids are not coming from a place where fitness and wellness is a norm. Survival mode is a norm for them or for their parents. To get the mind-body-soul connection on their own probably isn’t going to happen.’

Ferro brings the programs to various locations and conducts them on-site where the girls reside or go to school, with the help of a few volunteers. A few times per year she brings all the kids together to take part in 5K races that Girls With Sole sponsors each child to participate in so that they can experience first hand the power of Lacing Up for a Lifetime of Achievement(or LULA), which is the organization’s tagline.

Thanks to lots of fundraising and great corporate sponsors, Girls With Sole is growing quickly and is able to provide each participant with free running shoes and sports bras.
‘The kids need the shoes and they love the shoes’, Ferro says. ‘I’ve had girls tell me that it’s their only pair of shoes. And it just breaks my heart.’

The difference Girls With Sole makes in the lives of the kids is astounding. The need for the programs (and the statistics that back that need) is staggering. One program participant, named Allie, said, ‘Girls With Sole has helped me in so many ways. It has given me friends, support, and it has definitely given me a place to laugh and have fun. But it has given so much more than that. It’s given me a role model, and the support and belief that one day I can change lives like Miss Liz has changed mine. It has given me the chance to stop viewing my body as this fat, ugly, good-for-nothing thing, and to see instead how I can make it run, and if I treat it right it can carry me across many finish lines. It has given me a healthy escape from the pain of my past and my present.’

More About This Charity

Region

Midwest

Category

Best New Charity

Name

Girls With Sole

Mission

To use free fitness and wellness programs in order to empower the minds, bodies and souls of girls who are at-risk or have experienced abuse of any kind.

Impact

  • Supplied free running shoes, jog bras, fitness journals, water bottles to over 400 Girls
  • Utilize Free Programs and Provide Healthy Activities to Build Self-Esteem
  • Provide Programs Focused on Running, Yoga, Dance, Traditional Team Sports, and Provide Education Regarding Proper Nutrition

Works In

Ohio

Learn More

http://www.girlswithsole.org/

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