Meet i-tri, one of 22 grantee organizations selected for the 2015 Sports 4 Life grant. Hear from some of the program leaders, parents and girls of i-tri on how sport is making a difference in their lives. Sports 4 Life is a national program founded with espnW to increase the participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls, ages 11-18, in developmental youth sports programs. Through education, public awareness and grants to organizations nationwide, Sports 4 Life seeks to effect sustainable improvement to the overall health and development of girls in these communities.
Inspirational Triathlon Racing International (i-tri) was created in 2010 as a way to reach at-risk girls who were exhibiting destructive behaviors both socially and academically. Based out of East Hampton, New York, i-tri participants are referred to the program by their school’s social worker as girls who could benefit from the structure, discipline and positive life lessons that come from training for a triathlon. There is a great emphasis placed upon mental and emotional progress, as well as the more obvious nutritional and fitness components of the program. i-tri considers itself successful if they are able to use the sport of triathlon and the power of team-building to protect at-risk girls from damaging life choices.
“These girls never considered themselves athletes. Many had never ridden a bike or had never learned to swim. Completing the triathlon proves to them that they are able to do what they had perceived as difficult, and perhaps impossible. At the same time, they have learned to forge relationships, to strengthen communication skills and most importantly, to believe that they are worth all of this effort!” – Theresa Roden, Founder & Executive Director of i-tri
i-tri’s participants are 70% African-American and Hispanic and between the ages of 11-14. With the help of the Sports 4 Life grant, i-tri will be able to further integrate and engage their growing Hispanic community by ensuring that Spanish materials and a translator are available for all of their programs, providing transportation to and from trainings following the school year for girls’ who are from working families or families without documentation that would allow them to drive and integrating traditional Latin ingredients into i-tri’s Family Nutrition Workshops.
Through the sport of triathlon, i-tri’s girls are taught to set their own goals and are given the tools to work towards those goals. Throughout the program these girls come to see that they are strong young women who can achieve difficult goals, which is proven to themselves when they cross the finish line.