girls with sole a champion for cleveland’s troubled teens
Physical power is an important component of most any successful sports-related endeavor. However, athletics can also be used as a source of inner strength, a lesson Liz Ferro knows well.
Ferro is founder and executive director of Girls With Sole, a Rocky River-based nonprofit offering athletics programs to young victims of abuse throughout Cuyahoga, Lorain and Stark counties. Since its inception in August 2009, the program has aided nearly 500 girls. The organization offers traditional team sports as well as yoga, dance, Pilates and other wellness and nutrition activities.
“It’s an outlet for these girls to expend their negative energies,” says Ferro, whose organization brings its programming to different venues throughout the Cleveland area.
Ferro founded Girls With Sole to help girls who have experienced abuse gain self-esteem and mental strength. An abuse victim herself, Ferro used athletics as a source of empowerment when she had nowhere else to turn. Through the nonprofit, local girls have a chance to put teamwork, confidence and plain old fun into their daily routines.
“It’s an amazing feeling for them to do something physically,” Ferro says. “They can take that and use it in other areas of their lives.”
Ferro has numerous success stories among her young clients. One girl, a ward of the state in residential treatment, initially rejected Girls With Sole. Today, she’s a marathon runner and triathlete, a far better option than drugs or other unhealthy coping mechanisms troubled teens undertake.
“These kids don’t get this kind of encouragement elsewhere,” says Ferro. “Seeing positive and healthy people around them makes an impact.”
SOURCE: Liz Ferro
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth