[Blog by Liesl Cronje]

It’s always great to check in with our alumni students and I’ve recently had a coffee conversation with Sophia Roman who studied with Strong Foundation Academy from 2012 – 2014.   Sophia has a special interest and passion for coaching girls in leadership and when I asked her why she does what she does, this was her answer:  “In where I’ve been and how I’ve changed, as well as being part of my community on the Cape Flats, I daily see a great need for mentor relationships with young girls.  I can see how my own journey has brought me to a place where, when I share my story, it is meaningful to others and brings change to their lives”.

Sophia says that when growing up in an underserved environment, one tends to become part of the culture of the environment, a product of the specific circumstances.  Luckily in her case, she always had parents that showed her a different route.  “They taught me to think outside the box of a specific culture and community and to keep my values in mind. It was challenging but I held onto these values”.

I was interested in her view on values, as Strong Foundation Academy also has a values based approach.  “I did not know it was values during my growing up years, it was only when I studied coaching, that I realised that what my parents has taught me is called – VALUES”.  Midst a community with so many challenges it was difficult to keep her values intact and she sometimes compromised it because she did not understand the concept and power of personal and community values.

Out of congruence and not in a good space, she met Dr. Martie Lancellas, founder of Strong Foundation, “and this brought me back into alignment”.  At that stage she found herself in unhealthy relationships and toxic friendships and left with a decision to be true to her values or to be part of the in-crowd.  “That moment was the cross-road where I had to make a personal decision of how to go forward”, Sophia says.

She has since started a coaching ministry, based on a biblical foundation, for young and teen girls, where she coaches and mentors them towards becoming their authentic selves within their challenging environment and to be unapologetic and unconventional trendsetters. “It’s so good to see them and it excites me when I see the shifts right in front of my own eyes”.

I love Sophia’s response to why she would recommend Strong Foundation Academy to future students:   “Because of the foundation of their coach training – it is strong.  I believe they have a God foundation.  They are committed to their students.  They journey with us– it’s not just cold material and books, they journey with you as an individual.  They are connected to their students.  They honoured my journey.  I will be forever grateful to them”.

Thank you Sophia for sharing your heart and your practice with us.

Sophia can be contacted at sophiavrd@gmail.com .