Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Diaz.
Stephanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I started running in 2012 with the goal of showing my two daughters the importance of leading a healthy and active lifestyle and with the hope that normalizing physical activity as a part of our daily lives would help combat any body image issues they may face as they grow and broaden their social networks. I found yoga in 2013 and did my teacher training at Om Beats in Miami in 2015. Yoga, for me, was the perfect balance to my running and helped me create a further connection to myself, to my abilities as a mover, and to my own personal definition of strength. I have been teaching weekly yoga classes ever since completing my teacher training.
In November of 2017, I participated in a 5K (iRun5000) and was moved by the female elite runners and how they embodied strength and grace. A few days later, in walking my girls to school, we crossed paths with local high school students that use the park by my girls’ school for PE; I noticed the girls running would slow down or stop running completely to adjust their bras. These two incidents – one of confidence during the race and one of insecurity due to breast support – got me wondering about the impact of sports bras on female involvement in physical and sports activity. Could a resource, like a free sports bra, help girls stay active in a time of their lives (puberty) where participation in physical activity declines, partly due to insecurity with their changing bodies? Could an intervention, like providing that free sports bra during a day focused on female issues, be a way of broadening a girl’s scope of possibility? These are the two questions that I posed to myself as I looked into our Miami community for resources and programming and that I posed to the school system when I reached out to find out how I could do more to encourage girls to become and stay active. These are the two questions that formed the foundation of the 501(3)(c) charity I would start, Empowered Through Fitness.
What began as an idea and a curiosity is now blooming into what will be the first ever “The Girls Empowerment Fair” on October 19th. This day will be dedicated to 6th-grade girls from select schools in the Miami-Dade County Public School System and will focus on providing girls with free sports bras and other literature and tools that will aid them in feeling empowered as females with the beautiful ability to move.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
So far, it has been a smooth road as there has been a lot of support for The Girls Empowerment Fair. The biggest struggle I anticipate with this will be with fundraising and make sure enough is raised to provide a free sports bra and empowering tools for the anticipated 250 girls that will be attending the Fair. An overall challenge will be figuring out what programs to create and try to bring to the community that would impact the greatest amount of women and girls.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Empowered Through Fitness – what should we know?
My business, Empowered Through Fitness, is in its infancy but it is known for creating programming, like “The Girls Empowerment Fair,” that will provide girls with tools that normalize female development and will aid the girls in exploring and maintaining an active lifestyle. The goal is to create programming for women, as well, which lends itself to the motto “Empowered Girls Grow Into Empowered Women.” What sets Empowered Through Fitness apart at the moment is the aim to provide girls with free tools (i.e., sports bras, period kits, etc…) and with connections to community resources (i.e., introduction to local fitness instructors and studios). The thing I am the proudest of as a company is the support the charity and its mission have received from the community, especially the Miami-Dade County Public School System.
As for me, as a yoga teacher and a runner in the community that goes by “The Cookie Runner” (I do love cookies!), I’ve led a free run club at Om Movement in Coconut Grove for the past year and each week we run a 5K in the community and come back to the studio for runner-focused yoga stretching. My goal is the bridge the gap in different movement modalities to help students understand how strength supports flexibility and vice versa.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel that genuineness is the most important quality to my success. The desire to help and to want to positively impact the community comes from a genuine place of “If I can help, then why not?”
- Weekly run club is Free!
- $10 – supports The Girls Empowerment Fair
- $50 – Sports bra and goodie bag full of empowerment for two (2) girls
- $100 – Sports bra and goodie bag full of empowerment for four (4) girls
- $250 – Sports bra and goodie bag full of empowerment for ten (10) girls
- $500 – Sports bra and goodie bag full of empowerment for twenty (20) girls
- $1000.00 – Sponsorship for Girls Empowerment Fair
- Website: https://empoweredthroughfitness.org/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jade Electra, Team Vinchay, Devin Thompson