Impacting health, communities, and education through track and field. #TrackGirlz

TrackGirlz is a 501c3 nonprofit organization impacting health, communities, and education through our track and field empowerment workshops for girls, led by women in the sport. Our programs and events provide direct interaction with global track & field female role models, including world-class athletes and coaches, from a sport proven to have health, educational, and social benefits. The sport is one of the most diverse and inclusive sports for women, appealing to various ethnicities, body types, and athletes with physical disabilities.

According to research conducted by the Women’s Sports Foundation, by the age of 14, girls drop out of sports twice as often as boys for factors such as social stigma, lack of access, safety and transportation issues, costs, and lack of positive role models. The most common issues for teen girls are appearance, education, dating, bullying, friendship, self-esteem, peer pressure, substance use, menstruation and depression.

Track and Field was found to most likely to lead to higher education at four-year colleges and positively impacts behaviors, self-esteem, and overall health for teen girls. Among all 20 sports studied among teen youth, track and field stood out as having the highest percentages of youth who excelled academically. Track and field youth more often reported high academic achievement and positive academic self-concepts than other student-athletes. Further, track and field youth also held high aspirations and expectations of graduating from a four-year college and attaining additional education post-graduation than all other youth. Track and field was also found to have a strong positive influence on physical activity, psychological well-being, and substance use.

From our Founder, Mechelle Lewis Freeman, 2008 USA Track & Field Olympian: 

I originally started TrackGirlz in 2015 when I realized the impact of the talented and successful women and girls in the sport was not reaching its full potential. We want the world to know the power of track girls around the world and the opportunities in the sport that can lead to long-term success for those involved. 

I’ve been called a “Track Girl” since I started in the sport at age 14. If you are a female actively competing in the sport, you are called a Track Girl – no matter if you run, jump, or throw.  And, once a Track Girl, always a Track Girl.  It’s a community of powerful women and girls who compete or have competed in the sport and live the lifestyle of being a person confident in their skin and a competitor both on and off the track or field.    

The essence of a “Track Girl” is strong, beautiful, and bold, with the sport as a source for these attributes.  It has provided a way for me to learn through healthy competition – how to lose and how to win. I’ve learned how discipline, commitment and hard work yields positive results and how cutting corners and bad habits lead to disappointment. 

Embracing self-expression among track girls is an important part of our strong community. From personalities to hairstyles and lip stick choices, the sport allows you to showcase who you authentically are, while learning the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.  I use track and field work outs and channel that Track Girl confidence still to this day. 

– Mechelle L. Freeman   

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