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“When I first came here, Liz was just a person. I thought she was paid to come in here and do this with us, and then I read Liz’s book, and it gave me a way, way, way different perspective on her, and I think she’s one of the most powerful women I know in my life, because of what she’s endured and how happy she is now these days. So I look up to her and every single time I see her, I just look at her and study her, and think if she got through that stuff then I can, too, and I can change my life and break the cycle in my family.”
– Girls With Sole participant in RTC, Age 15
On March 8 Ferro will speak in Wooster at 6 p.m. at the American Red Cross building about her organization, her harrowing personal journey and her book, “Finish Line Feeling.” The memoir chronicles Ferro’s path from being a foster child and a sexual abuse survivor to starting Girls With Sole.
“Fitness is what saved my life,” Ferro said. “I don’t want anyone to feel the ugliness and darkness that sometimes comes from trauma. Fitness can help to mend those things.”
Ferro described her childhood experience. “As a foster child they moved me around between four homes. There was abuse in those homes,” Ferro said. “When my parents adopted me at about age 2, I had all kinds of issues with trust, fear of men, PTSD, emotional disturbances.”
It wasn’t until Ferro had children of her own and saw how loving and open they were that some of the depth of her own trauma was revealed. “I didn’t tell my parents I loved them until I was maybe 6 or 7, and I only told them because I thought I had to. But my parents were really great. They were supportive. They tried to build up my trust.”
Then when Ferro was about 8 years old, the cycle of abuse began again. This time it was a neighbor. When discovered, the situation was kept secret.
“So at 9 years old I had to figure out what to do about all that, and it all went to bad places. But the thing that kept holding me back from hurting myself, that made me feel better and gave me physical and emotional strength, was sports. Things you couldn’t get from anywhere else, I found in fitness.”
Ultimately when she realized that no one else was providing the kind of program she envisioned, Girls With Sole began. “I thought, ‘nobody is doing this, and so many kids need it,’” Ferro said. “I paired up with social service agencies and schools. I go to the girls where they are, usually for an hour or an hour and a half, once per week.”
The programs presented are free. “The first portion of the curriculum,” Ferro said, “centers on fitness: running games, yoga, a wide range. I want the girls to find what makes their soul sing. We try to introduce them to as many physical activities as possible.”
The other portion of the curriculum involves guided activities such as art projects, peer awareness and self-esteem. “A lot of the girls don’t have running gear, so I will get it for them. Even though we aren’t 100 percent focused on running, we bring them to a race. It’s a very tangible goal. It’s special to see them cross that finish line.”
Ferro has crossed finish lines running races in every one of the 50 states in order to raise funds and awareness. On May 20 she will run what may be the most challenging organized marathon in the world: The Great Wall Marathon. The course includes the 5,164 steps of the Great Wall of China. All donations to the campaign will directly support Girls With Sole.
Ferro also will be the featured speaker at the April 27, 2017 Voices for Children annual breakfast held by Wayne County Children’s Services and will speak at the Rotary Club of Wooster on July 24.
The Red Cross building is at 244 W. South St. The event is hosted and sponsored by Wayne County Women’s Network in partnership with Wayne County Children’s Advocacy Center and Quota International of Wooster. A $10 donation is requested with all proceeds going to Girls With Sole. Ferro’s book, “Finish Line Feeling,” will be available for purchase for $20. Reserve copies ahead of time. For reservations call Kathi Bond at 330-466-0973 or email email@example.com.
Girls With Sole is a nonprofit organization. For more information on Girls With Sole and to donate, visit www.girlswithsole.org, www.gofundme.com/conqueringthewall, Facebook: Girls With Sole and Twitter: @girlswithsoulachieve.
Published: February 27, 2017
Summer Camp is a memorable and impactful experience in a young girl’s life. Girls With Sole’s Camp POWER explores the GWS POWER Principles of Perseverance, Optimism, Wisdom, Energy, and Resilience for campers age 11-13 and their teen mentors age 16-19.
Camp POWER will provide two meals for the girls, as well as, daily field trips and activities to nurture health and wellness, empowerment, self-esteem, team-building, and to explore new ideas while recognizing the POWER that each of them already has within themselves.
Camp POWER has reached max capacity for campers, but we still have two spots open for teen mentors.
For more information about being a mentor, email Liz Ferro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to help support this FREE camp for the girls and mentors, please donate to: https://www.gofundme.com/conqueringthewall
Liz Ferro was honored to be a speaker at Kenston’s 20th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day event.
Girls With Sole and #NGWSD are all about Expanding Opportunity!
Female Athletes are amazing in every way and will continue to rock the world with Resilience, Optimism, Courage and by Killing Stereotypes! (ROCK)