Sole Girls

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Sole Girls : Values based Empowerment in Motion

North Vancouver, CanadaNorth Vancouver, Canada
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Sole Girls is a powerful network of young women who are changing lives. Through mentorship and non-competitive physical activity we run empowerment programs that train girls for a 5km a fun run, build positive mental and physical health, confidence and self-love.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

what if girls knew they would always be supported?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

When girls start school, they are more likely than boys to do well in reading, writing, and forming friendships. Yet for many girls, this advantage is overshadowed by a sharp decline in mental health in adolescence. As girls ages 9 to 13, their confidence declines sharply and they experience higher rates of depression. In Grade Six, 36% of girls say they are self-confident, but by Grade Ten this has plummeted to only 14%.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Healthy, non-competitive physical activity and connecting with strong, positive role models builds a supportive change making community. Through our 9 week programs we train kids to be mentally and physically prepared to run a 5km fun run. Through discussion of values, body image, goals, nutrition, anxiety and more girls learn tools to build their self-confidence, and quality relationships with themselves, their bodies, their friends and families. We run workshops, parties and programs that build new ideas and allow girls to grow their comfort zone being active and accepting their bodies as a tool. We connect the physical with the mental/self-talk which most sports programs miss. More positive mental health equals less bullies.

Awards

small business BC top 5, community achievement
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

A common problem with girls is developing negative emotions around physical activity at a young age because of body awareness, feel self conscious or not good enough. We create a secure, supportive environment where kids build skills and confidence in themselves, in physical literacy, and can overcome obstacles. One specific girl who dealt with severe anxiety, joined our program and through running and mentorship was able to build her confidence and believe in herself not only that she is capable but also understand that she isn't alone. Last week she spoke in front of 200 people on stage about her experience. We give kids the tools to love themselves enough that they can inspire others to be themselves as well.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Sole Girls exists to create a positive social impact by empowering girls and young women. We measure our social impact through active engagement in our programs and events, via feedback from participants, volunteers and parents, and through the number of hours and media exposure our program has achieved in our community. Specifically, we have put over 400 girls through our programs since 2013. During that time: Over 380 hours of experiential learning took place. Over 600 kilometres were run by girls and their champions (parents, siblings, friends) during program time. We ask our girls if they feel more confident after program has finished, 90% of participants surveyed said yes they felt more confident, and the other 10% say they were already confident! 93% of parents report that they feel their daughter is more confident after the program. 80% say they are more active now.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

In 2016 Sole Girls is focused on growth, and connection. Our main focus is to recruit coaches from new communities to be the champions for youth in their areas. Our goals are to increase girls’ confidence across the province and to help over 5000 girls this year to start loving their bodies and their minds. We will offer licensed programs and support new coaches across Canada, and abroad We are adding age groups to include 6-8 year olds and 11-14 years olds.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Our programs are priced to ensure financial sustainability, and program costs are in-line with other programs. Sole Girls is pursuing several strategies to increase program affordability while remaining profitable. First, Sole Girls has established strategic partnerships with local businesses which reduce operating costs for Sole Girls while helping our partners target new or key demographics. Also, Sole Girls operates a scholarship fund.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Dove is talking about body image. Always has done a great job addressing the "like a girl" Bell media is talking about Mental Health and they are doing crazy awesome things to make people step back and think twice. Girls on the Run, and other running programs for girls address the running piece. They are raising awareness of the problems, and we are building the solution, starting at the ground level.
Team

Founding Story

As a trained life coach, specifically coaching in health and wellness, Ashley found that as adults, we face many of the same negative social ideas and thoughts about our bodies that began during childhood. As an avid runner, Ashley has run marathons, half marathons, and triathlons around the world. She started coaching learn-to-runs, to help people get active again and push their limits. The difference in the attitudes of the participants towards themselves and their bodies after they began running was incredible. After expressing that she wanted to help more people, a friend (who is a mother) recommended she work with girls.

Team

Ashley Wiles founder and head coach Kathleen Lane is our COO We have 4 contract coaches and 60 Soleteers currently who are volunteer mentors and help to run the program. As we evolve we will be training more coaches and building in more support for each other and for volunteers.
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