Girls with Sole
Former foster child Liz Ferro is not just a marathoner but a triathleteand not just a triathlete, but an ironman triathlete (thats swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles).
Such perseverance takes the kind of indomitable spirit Liz needed to triumph over her childhood abuse and to channel her pain into helping at-risk adolescent girls through the power of sports.
Today, Liz lights up a room with energy and enthusiasm, explaining, I credit athletics with getting me through the dark times and empowering my mind, body, and soul. Because I did not receive any help or support when I was abused as a child, I found an outlet and a healing strength through sports.
Since founding Girls with Sole in 2009, she has helped 400 girls in the foster or juvenile justice systems focus on exercise, nutrition, and overall healthy living. The organization offers sports, yoga, dance, and nutritional advice plus free running shoes, jog bras, and fitness journals.
One 15-year-old came to her first meeting moody and prone to self-harm, determined not to participate. Within a month, she had become a leader, encouraging new girls to give the program a chance. Recently she is being considered for foster home placement, meaning she can leave residential treatment.
Im so proud of my girls for their resiliency and good hearts, Liz says.
A personal thrill this past summer was crossing the finish line during a triathlon in Switzerland as the announcer reported she represented Girls With Sole.
Liz, who believes strength builds with every run, says of her quickly growing program, I started running with this ideaand I havent stopped.