BUFFALO, N.Y. - A Buffalo Public Schools principal has earned national recognition and it's not for her work at West Hertel.

Cecelie Owens is the founder and president of the G.I.R.L.S. Sports Foundation, Inc. She and her sister started the program in 2007 and to date more than 5,000 girls have participated in the program.

This week at The espnW: Women + Sports Summit presented by Toyota, Owens was a member of the class named Everyday Heroes for making a difference for women and girls in their local communities.

G.I.R.L.S. stands for goals, integrity, respect, leadership and sports. "We promote the importance of academic achievement, respect, healthy lifestyle, teamwork, good sportsmanship," Owens said. "They learn lifelong skills taught through sports and mentoring."

The initial sports clinic started at the Edward Saunders Community Center on Bailey Avenue in the city. Owens was amazed with 90 girls between the ages of 4 and 18 showed up. "It's not about basketball, it's beyond basketball, it's about being a positive role model for these young ladies in Buffalo and WNY, she said.

Owens received $10,000 and she plans to use it to advance the foundation. "I want to launch this summer program free to girls."

A part of the program, girls learn strategies for overcoming adversity.

Owens has a storied athletic career from South Park High School to Buffalo State where she's in the athletic hall of fame.