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April 03, 2017

Introducing Bras for Girls

Lesko

Oiselle is thrilled to announce the launch of our Bras for Girls charitable donation program. The Bras for Girls mission is to help girls stay active and see physical activity as lifelong pursuit. We plan to donate at least 2,000 sports bras in 2017, and to share educational content about how to accurately choose and fit a sports bra, and understand our changing bodies. In 2018 and beyond, we plan to increase donations and produce "first-bra" designs just for girls.

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Oiselle champions the idea of the lifelong athlete, and we especially target timeframes and transitions when girls and women might experience challenges being athletic: post-college, post-childbirth, post-menopause, etc. One timeframe that we have identified is the onset of puberty, when some girls turn away from athletic pursuits.

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According to recent research, including a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health, middle school is a crucial fork in the road, during which some stop participating in sports due to their changing bodies. Consider the following:

  • 73% of girls report having breast-related concerns regarding exercise and sports
  • 87% want to know more about breasts
  • Close to half report that their breasts have an effect on their participation in sports
  • Families in need may not have the resources or information to purchase a girl's first sports bra1,2

Self-consciousness, including not having a good sports bra, causes some girls to decrease physical activity - which could have a life long effect. On the other hand, getting a sports bra, learning about breast development, feeling normalized, and continuing to love body movement makes the athletic pathway easier. What a great target for intervention!

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Recently, Sally Bergesen and I kicked off our first Bras for Girls event with our friends at Running for a Better Oakland. A fantastic day! The girls ranged from elementary to high school, and first did a circuit session and a 2-4 mile run. Then, Sally and I presented on the power of athletics in the female life, breast development, and how to fit a sports bra (with the help of Volée Leader Sheena Caines). RBO volunteers distributed 300 apparel items, including over 100 bras, to the group. The day exceeded all expectations.

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Nancy Philippine, Executive Director of RBO: “Our students were very excited with the donation; they all came out of the house with a big smile and their hands full! On behalf of the RBO community, I want to extend our thanks for all your support.”

Sally grew up the Bay Area, and saw RBO as a great partner: “When we learned about Running for a Better Oakland, we were immediately struck by the value of what this group does. They invite and encourage youth participation in running, across all ages for girls and boys, and get them hooked on moving their bodies. There is nothing more simple and valuable than that.”

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Receiving a sports bra at the right time can make a difference in how young girls view sports from that point forward. Oiselle’s goal is to remove the barriers in that formative moment, and to encourage lifelong sport participation. The lifelong benefit of sports has been well documented, driving higher rates of physical health, educational and professional success, spiritual well being, and reduced rates of health problems and illness.

We are looking for your suggestions for organizations that would make great partners: Please share your nominations with us, to spread the bra love! And thank you for your support of our Bras for Girls program!

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  1. NYT Wellness Piece: Breast and Body Changes are Driving Girls Out of Sports
  2. Journal Of Adolescent Health: The Influence of the Breast on Sport and Exercise Participation in School Girls in the United Kingdom

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Comments

Erin Good | April 3, 2017 at 8:35am

This is amazing - thank you!

I wish something like this had existed when I was in junior high. I vividly remember worrying about my growing breasts, and even feeling self-conscious about the way my racer-back sports bra straps peeked out of my crew neck t-shirt. No one told me this was normal and healthy; thank you for starting this conversation with the next generation.

Maureen | April 3, 2017 at 8:51am

GOT nomination form

I tried to complete the nomination form for a local organization that could benefit from the GOT program, but the webpage popped up an error that the form has received the maximum number of entries.

jbarnard | April 3, 2017 at 9:46am

Nomination Form

Just fixed! Thank you for pointing out, Maureen!

Liz W-D | April 3, 2017 at 10:37am

Yes!

I love this so much - thank you for helping girls to feel more comfortable in their own skin! I would like to put in a plug for the especially busty ones - I had to wear two bras throughout my young athletic life, until I found a serious lock-down bra. I hope there is a super supportive bra for larger created girls (and women!) on the drawing board.

Sheena | April 3, 2017 at 6:35pm

This was my issue growing up,

This was my issue growing up, once they finally started to come in! This might be one of the reasons they wanted to show what I look like in a sports bra to the girls ;)

Mindy Mueller | April 4, 2017 at 5:20pm

Thank you

Thank you all so much! What a wonderful and powerful program! It would have made a big difference for me and so hopefully it will for my 10 year old daughter. Might I suggest schools in rural areas who may not have access or exposure? South Shore Elementary and jr/sr high in port wing, WI.!

Guest | April 7, 2017 at 2:19pm

Well done!! This is exactly

Well done!! This is exactly why I stopped playing sports in 8th grade. I applaud you for this important program but many the girls who need this the most are probably too big to wear the sizes you offer. Smaller sized girls can more easily find decent bras at a reasonable price. It's the bigger girls who have no affordable and accessible option.

anne callaway | April 22, 2017 at 3:10pm

Love this!

I taught middle school for a few years and it's so true how self conscious these girls can be. Imagine the confidence they'll build being comfortable playing sports! High 5s all around for this one!

Casey | June 4, 2017 at 6:30am

GOT bras program

It has never occurred to me, as a relatively flat-chested woman who was a relatively flat-cheated middle schooler, that THAT was a factor in my continuing to run and compete in sports when so many of my friends stopped. What an eye-opener. Thank you for this incredibly awesome and smh 'or course!' Program. It's a basic sports need that is not available for so many young girls. Bravo, Oiselle!

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