Last week, the Natasha Hastings Foundation debuted an informational series for young women and girls to provide them insight about their bodies and help them have a healthy self-understanding as they grow through puberty into young adulthood. A two-time Olympic gold medalist in track, Hastings, a New York City native, has hosted events for the past few years to inspire girls to be active.
This program, The Starting Block, provides facts about girls’ bodies and the changes that impact them as athletes. Hastings works alongside her college roommate, Dr. Amberly Winley, a former sprinter who is now an OB/GYN.
“Thinking about some of our experiences and the information that we wish we had, and now taking some of her expertise and some of my experiences and putting that together,” said Hastings. “The material focuses on puberty, getting your period, body image and there’s even a section on contraception.
“This is really about making sure that girls have the proper information,” she adds. “Our goal is to give the girls the correct information so that they’re able to make informed choices and decisions for themselves.”
Due to COVID-19, Hastings had to put the foundation’s live events on hold. The upside is that she’s focused on creating online events that can have broad-based participation. She is excited to share these impactful sessions.
“I want my legacy to be beyond what I’ve done on the track,” said Hastings. “I think about my experiences and some of the things I wish I had along the way.
“One of the things Amberly and I talked about is we were roommates going through similar things and we had no idea,” she continued. “To be able to foster a sisterhood…Sometimes you just need a little nudging to know you’re not alone.”
The mother to 1-year-old Liam, Hastings is training and aiming to compete at next year’s Olympics. She has competed a couple of times this summer at track meets in Texas, where she now lives and trains. (The meets spaced a lane in between each runner.) She wants to be prepared should there be an indoor season in 2021.
There have already been two Zoom sessions for The Starting Block and another session is scheduled for next Wednesday, Aug. 26. The schedule for September is being formulated. For more information, go to nhfcares.org.