Center for Innovation & Growth Gets “Sole”-ful

Drew Boxler, Contributing Writer

As a part of a series hosted by Baldwin Wallace’s Center for Innovation and Growth, Liz Ferro spoke about her groundbreaking new program, “Girls with Sole,” which works to better the lives of girls in unfortunate situations, to inspire hope and happiness where both lack in abundance.
Ferro’s presentation was introduced by one of Baldwin Wallace’s senior psychology majors and CIG practice interns, Ashley Smith. Smith worked with Ferro at a few of the events held, and spoke of those experiences as some of the greatest she has witnessed.
After a brief excerpt from the book, “Girls with Sole,” Ferro took the stage and opened with a video clip from The Today Show featuring “Girls with Sole!”
The video touched on many weighty topics, including Ferro’s firsthand accounts of neglect and sexual abuse. Ferro, as she explained, turned tragic memories into positive action, using them to drive the “Girls with Sole!” movement.
“Ignoring the problem will not make it go away,” Ferro said of the cruel experiences of countless young girls every day.
The program features an equal emphasis on fitness, as well as uplifting the spirits of children in these unfortunate circumstances. “Balancing mind, body, and soul—that’s the whole point”
“Girls with Sole!” officially began in 2009 amidst the start of the economic recession.
“People were telling me I was crazy, and most non-profit organizations were failing,” Ferro said. This did not deter Ferro’s ambition, she said, and she progressed onward.
Soon after the program began, Ferro sought out various Social Worker gatherings, distributing pamphlets about the program.
Eventually, more and more people began to invite Ferro to hold an event at various establishments, and soon the girls began to show up.
Due to the nature of the situations that some of these girls come from, Ferro understood that there could not be a set plan.
“There is no ‘On day one, do this; on day two, do that,” she said. Connecting this mentality to any aspect of life, Ferro explains that one cannot simply plan out the entire course of his or her life. One always must adopt a Plan B, Plan C, or even a Plan D. The ability to “roll with it” is essential.
As for her plans for her future and the future of “Girls with Sole,” Ferro anticipates her programs to grow here in Cleveland. If progress continues, she also plans to establish her program as a nation-wide organization.
As of now, “Girls with Sole” remains a non-profit organization, but produces income through corporate grants and fundraising—an unusual state for a non-profit organization.
Ferro, however, plans to continue her efforts to promote the company, hoping to earn enough money to begin paying staff, subsequently earning more grants.
In her own life, Ferro participates in marathons, attends meetings, and is constantly working behind the scenes to keep “Girls with Sole” flourishing and helping more girls every day.