CLEVELAND, OH. — Inner-city girls are getting left out on the playing field. Only 36 percent say they are physically active. Several obstacles hold them back including cost, support, and access.
In fact, girls have one-point-three million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have. Twenty-seven percent of United States public schools no longer have any sports teams of any kind, and usually the first teams to get cut in a financial crisis are the girls’ teams.
But now, one woman with a lot of soul is making it her mission to inspire girls to get up and get active.
Liz Ferro has faced many challenges, both physically and mentally.
“I was a foster kid. There was abuse in all four of the homes, Liz Ferro, Girls with Sole Founder and CEO, shared with Ivanhoe.
Sports became her escape.
Liz Ferro vocalized, “Every time I would get to that edge, the thing that would hold me back from going over was not wanting to ruin the one constant good thing in my life, which sports, fitness, that feeling of accomplishment that comes with it.”
Now she teaches that same approach to inner-city girls.
Through girls with sole, Liz connects with fourth through twelfth graders.
Giving them a place to grow without judgement. Throwing in life lessons, while getting the girls up and moving.
“You just have to do mind, body, and soul. You have to address all three to be a whole and healthy person,” Liz Ferro exclaimed.
Girls with Sole empowers hundreds of at-risk, giving them free running shoes, jog bras and fitness journals. Giving them the power they are searching for.
“When I see them put that together, then I know I did what I was supposed to do. That's what I was put on this earth to do. They might find something that they really like, and that lights their soul on fire,” Liz Ferro uttered.
Studies show that if girls participate in sports while in school, they’re more likely to graduate, not get pregnant, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and avoid risky behaviors.
Right now, Girls with Sole is in the Cleveland area, but any girl can learn Liz’s lessons. She has written two books on the topic, Finish Line Feeling and Girls with Soul: A Girl Power Guide to Unleashing Your Inner Superhero. Both can be purchased on amazon, along with her first fiction book, Chameleon Girl.