These are just a few of the many traits that describe Zoila Herrera, but for the Miami native and LPGA*USGA Girls Golf alumna, perseverant is most fitting.
That’s because no matter what life has thrown at Herrera, she endures and overcomes – often with a smile that lights up a room. For example, when the outgoing only child was bullied for being herself, she didn’t fight back. Herrera instead took it as an opportunity to respond with kindness, trying to find something in common with those who mistreated her.
When Herrera broke her leg jumping on a trampoline on her 10th birthday, instead of getting upset over the activities she could no longer take part in, she used the subsequent five-month recovery to seek out other hobbies.
This eventually led Herrera to golf, which became her saving grace during a heartbreaking period that started at age 14. First, Herrera’s mom suffered a stroke, which left her in the hospital for a month and disabled since, unable to use the left side of her body.
Shortly after that, Herrera underwent corrective surgery on her femur because the one she broke previously was now shorter than the other. As if these events weren’t life-changing enough, Herrera’s parents got divorced when she was 15, which meant she was now responsible for being her mother’s primary caretaker.
Despite having her life turned upside down, Herrera persevered, finding the strength to care for her mother day in and day out. As time went on, however, the weight of her responsibility became too much to bear. Insert LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Miami, which provided a safe haven for Herrera to escape the adversity – even for just a few hours at a time – and pursue her passion, spending time with fellow girl golfers.
If there’s one thing to be gleaned from this story, it’s that Herrera is not alone. She is both one in a million and one of a million girls who have found a personal sanctuary in Girls Golf since the program was created in 1989.