For four years, Norgaard coached her daughter Grace's Girls on the Run program. "It is an amazing program which teaches girls confidence through running," she says. "I saw the program change the lives of not only the young girls, but mine too."
When Norgaard visited a toy store with Grace, she found the selection disappointing. Many dolls wore high heels, dressy clothes and makeup. None resembled her healthy daughter, who stood beside her in a soccer uniform, her cheeks still pink from running.
"I don't disagree with all fashion dolls, but when the word 'sexy' comes to mind when looking at a toy for kids, it needs to be pulled off the shelf," says Noorgard. She bought a doll called "Lovely Lola" and brought it home to show her husband. From that moment on, he backed her dream — to create dolls that promote health and play, not fashion and looks.
Go! Go! Sports Girls were the result of Norgaard's inspiration. The line of toys and books have won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio's Platinum Award, Creative Child Magazine's 2104 Toy of the Year Award and Dr. Toy's 10 Best Toys of the Year. Each doll corresponds with a sport, and there's a huge variety of sports — from dance to running.
Does it matter what girls play with? "I believe toys and play have a big influence on the development of kids," says Norgaard. "I was always active as a kid. I played tennis, ran track, loved swimming. I was good at sports, never great, but always enjoyed playing, watching and the feeling it gave me. It always made me feel strong." Her daughter Grace, the original "sports girl," is now 18 and in college.
Norgaard isn't afraid to drop the F-bomb when describing her toys. "I strongly believe we need to encourage our girls to focus on their abilities, their minds and not focus on only appearance," she says. "Feminism is about equality, and that is what I am striving for with the Go! Go! Sports Girl line."
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