Sole Girls, Vancouver, B.C.
"Running saved my life and it might save yours too" is the title of Tedex talk Ashley Wiles gave in Vancouver, B.C.
Having dealt with struggles such as self-doubt and a poor body image, Ashley felt a desire to create positive change in her community.
"The person who influenced me was a girl who committed suicide. She posted a video before she killed herself. I know what that feels like and I don't think anyone should have to deal with that. I'm a life coach, that's my background - to get from point a to point b - and what I see over and over again is how physical activity can changes lives; seeing how people show up for you and you show up for them."
Ashley used her passion for adolescent girls to create Sole Girls, which uses running as a tool to build self-confidence and a sense of empowerment in young women.
"Sole girls started in 2013. It's an empowerment program for girls between ages 8 to 12. We started with 15 girls and now it's over 600 girls. We run a nine-week program where girls train to run a 5k. We talk about values and we use running as a tool to facilitate conversations about body image and confidence. At Sole Girls by intermixing physical activity it enables a deeper learning and is less confrontational -it's facilitates an open-minded conversation. We tell the girls to be that person that inspired you 5 or 10 years from now. Find your happy pace!"
Many runners have - indeed - found their happy pace and Ashley's goal to "change the number of girls who are physically inactive" and in return build self-confidence is working.