Photo Credits: WNY Women’s Foundation
On Monday, May 23rd at 5 p.m., the Western New York Women’s Foundation is hosting the What She’s Made Of 2022 event at Highmark Stadium. The event provides an opportunity for attendees to mingle over cocktail and hor d’oeurves, then hear from a panel of leaders in the sports field. This year’s panelists include Hayley Scamurra, an Olympic Silver Medalist and Professional Women’s Hockey Association member, and Cecelie Owens, Co-founder and President of G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, Inc. and Buffalo Public Schools principal.
I had a chance to meet with Ms. Owens this week ahead of the event. We discussed the G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, which she started with her sister in 2007. G.I.R.L.S. stands for goals, integrity, respect, leadership and sports. The mission of the foundation is to promote the importance of academic achievement, respect, self-confidence, healthy lifestyles, team work, and good sportsmanship through sports participation and mentoring among underserved girls ages 8-18.
During our conversation, Ms. Owens reflected on her childhood growing up in the City of Buffalo and spending countless hours at her local community center playing sports. She noted the importance of mentorship and having influential role models in her life, many of whom she still keeps in contact with today. Many of the skills and traits she learned through sports led her to become a principal. Her enthusiasm and passion for sports and her community were evident throughout our conversation.
Ms. Owens also highlighted the fitting timing of the event, about a month before the 50th anniversary of Title IX. She was ten years old when the law was implemented and she celebrated that there has been a lot of change since then. However, she noted that there is still a lot more work to do. Ms. Owens also spoke about what the title of the event – “What She’s Made Of”- meant to her personally. For her, it’s about overcoming adversity, using the gifts God has given you, and developing a network of mentors, family, and community support to help build you up. Ms. Owens’s goal is to let everyone know what she is made of, then help the girls and women she works with learn and share what they are made of.
Ms. Owens looks forward to being a part of a robust dialogue at the event. It was a pleasure to speak with and meet Ms. Owens. Her passion for sports and her community is inspiring. Tickets for the May 23rd event, presented by the Western New York Women’s Foundation, are available here.
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