Sports Report

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WSP & espnW’s Sports 4 Life Program Impacts Over 60k WOC Over 7 Years

The Women’s Sports Foundation and ESPN released today a seven-year summative data analysis measuring girls’ leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance gained via their joint Sports 4 Life program. As the country continues to grapple with the ripple effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the long overdue need for racial justice, WSF and ESPN are working together to create youth leadership opportunities for girls of color through sport. As these character traits are strong building blocks for girls’ futures, local sports programs play a critical role, often filling in the gaps to access and opportunity.

To mark the initiative’s seven-year anniversary, a summative evaluation study was conducted to analyze its impact to date. Through surveys of program leaders and participants, findings showed that girls were more physically, mentally, and socially healthy when participating in Sports 4 Life funded programs. The girls rated themselves highly in perseverance, self-efficacy in sports and exercise, leadership and athletic identity and body image. For example:

97% of the girls agreed that they keep trying until they reach their goal.
96% believed that they could be really good at a new sport if they tried it.
92% said they believed their body was getting healthier through their sports program.
86% said that they saw themselves as leaders.
The initiative, co-founded by WSF and national partner espnW in 2014, is based on the knowledge that while sports participation offers tremendous life-long benefits – from improved physical health and self-esteem, to better grades in school and enhanced leadership skills – girls of color are disproportionately excluded. Sports 4 Life was designed to help increase participation and retention of African-American and Hispanic girls in developmental youth sports programs. The initiative is inspired by the organizations’ beliefs that sports can unlock possibilities for girls and transform their lives.

“As a long-time supporter and new board member of the Women’s Sports Foundation, I’m a big believer in the transformative power of sports,” said LaChina Robinson, ESPN Studio Analyst and Sideline Reporter, “I’m excited to see that more than 86 percent of Black and Hispanic girls who participated in the Sports 4 Life program see themselves as leaders as a result of sports. Sports have positively impacted my life in so many ways, both on and off the court.”

The pandemic has put many independent community programs in jeopardy, and youth in under-resourced communities are being hit hardest of all. The funding provided to Sports 4 Life community partners is helping to uplift and sustain invaluable opportunities for girls of color. The success of the program as evidence by the summative report data, shows that a return to play is crucial to continue to instill girls with the lifelong benefits that come with sport participation.

Further evidence of the impact and benefit of the Sports 4 Life initiative can be seen on ABC’s Localish. Feature stories on community partner programs Beat the Streets and Lost Boyz showcased the lasting impact of sports on young girls lives.

“The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable all girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life; to unlock their limitless possibilities through the power of play,” said WSF President-elect, Phaidra Knight. “As a Black female athlete, attorney, World Rugby Hall of Famer, and an entrepreneur, I know first-hand how community sports programs can help nurture a girl’s sense of self and ambition. We are proud of the positive impact Sports 4 Life is having on girls across the country, and we are grateful to espnW for helping to create this initiative.”

Data was also collected from program leaders to gain their perspective on Sport 4 Life’s contributions to youth development. Many reported that after a single season of participating in their respective sports programs, the girls were far more likely to be involved in sports, leadership, and community activities, compared to when they first entered the programs. For example:

66% reported that girls were likely to be participating regularly in extracurricular activities (up from 27%)
56% reported that girls were likely to be involved with community-based groups (up from 20%)
73% reported that girls were interested in being leaders at school or in their community (up from 15%)
Further, the summative data showed several commonalities among these exemplary community partners. Many programs focus on empowering girls through gender-informed programming and build up a strong community of female and racially diverse coaches to provide girls with greater opportunities for relationship-building and mentorship. Parent support is also crucial to girls’ success, with 91 percent of programs indicating that they work to get parents actively involved in their daughters’ sport.

Since its inception, the Sports 4 Life initiative has served 157 community-based organizations in 34 states (plus Washington D.C. and U.S. Virgin Islands), with over $1.4 million in grant awards with ESPN reaching more than 60,000 girls in over 34 sports.

WSF has further explored the impact of the Sports 4 Life program through its newly-published Communities at the Forefront Report, and recently announced the new class of 2020 Sports 4 Life grant recipients. For more information on both, visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org


Photo Credit: Nadejda Filin / Shutterstock.com

The Los Angeles Dodgers are Headed to The World Series

Last night, the Los Angeles Dodgers locked in their ticket to the World Series. The boys in blue fought off the Atlanta Braves 4-3 in Game 7 of the National League Championship series on Sunday, October 18th
The team will now go head-to-head with the Tampa Bay Rays when the World Series starts Tuesday in in Arlington, Texas, at the newly-opened Globe Life Field.

This win marks the 20th World Series appearance in the storied history of the Dodgers franchise. The Dodgers will now have represented the National League in the World Series in three of the last four years. The Dodgers have won the World Series six times, with the last championship coming in 1988.

“Following protocols, being away from family, being in the bubble for quarantine, it hasn’t been easy,” Seager said. “We’ve been up for the challenge, and we’re sticking with it and we’re going to keep rolling.”


Photo Credit: Jonathan Hui / Shutterstock.com

Washington Football Team Names Julie Andreeff Jensen SVP

The Washington Football Team has announced that they have appointed Julie Andreeff Jensen as Senior Vice President of External Engagement and Communications. As Team President Jason Wright’s first SVP hire, Jensen will serve on the franchise’s executive leadership team and is charged with building and overseeing functions including: external and internal communications, public affairs, the Washington Football Charitable Foundation, and the team’s alumni program. She will also work alongside Senior Vice President of Media & Content, Julie Donaldson, to further develop Women’s Initiative Network – a group and platform that launched in July and is dedicated to women’s leadership and advocacy within the organization.

“Julie has devoted her career to advising leaders, government officials, businesses, and nonprofits around the world through periods of change and has experience creating effective integrated communications functions from the ground up,” said Wright. “She is a mission-driven person of uncompromising values – exactly the type of leader our organization needs to radically transform in the ways we aspire to. She will be invaluable as we take on the very real work of renewing – and, in some cases – repairing our relationships with the media and community leaders connected to our team.”


Photo Credit: Twin Design / Shutterstock.com

USA Swimming Kick Off National Learn to Swim Campaign

USA Swimming and partner Phillips 66 have launched Saving Lives is Always in Season—an important partnership to increase drowning prevention nationwide by reminding Americans that swim lessons are life-saving resources, critical to public health and well-being, and should be taught year-round.

“Ensuring children have access to swim lessons doesn’t disappear when summer ends. Learn-to-swim programs teach essential life-saving skills that should be available year-round,” said Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and Director of Community Engagement at USA Swimming. “These programs help keep kids safe in and around the water as research shows that teaching a child to swim can reduce their drowning risk by 88%. USA Swimming is proud to partner with Phillips 66 to raise awareness about drowning prevention and engage parents and policymakers across the nation in this important conversation about water safety.”

Claudia Kreisle, Director of Social Impact for Phillips 66, also emphasized the importance of water safety stating, “Safety is at the center of Phillips 66’s operations and culture. We recognize the increase in drowning rates since the beginning of the pandemic and have stayed committed with our support to the USA Swimming Foundation to raise awareness around water safety and teach children to swim.”


Photo Credit: Kateryna Mostova / Shutterstock.com

Athlete Archive – Stephen Curry

Stephen Curry is an American professional basketball player for the Golden State Warriors of the NBA. Many analysts and players have called him the greatest shooter in NBA history. He is credited with revolutionizing the game of basketball by inspiring teams to regularly utilize the three-point shot. A six-time NBA All-Star, Curry has been named the NBA Most Valuable Player twice and won three NBA championships with the Warriors.

The son of a former NBA player Dell and the older brother of current NBA player Seth, Curry played college basketball for the Davidson Wildcats. He set the all-time scoring record for both Davidson and the Southern Conference and was twice named the conference’s player of the year During his sophomore year, Curry also set the single-season NCAA record for three-pointers made, and was then selected by the Warriors with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

In 2014–15, Curry won his first MVP award and led the Warriors to their first championship since 1975. The following season, he became the first player in NBA history to be elected MVP by a unanimous vote and to lead the league in scoring while shooting above 50–40–90. That same year, the Warriors broke the record for the most wins in an NBA season en route to reaching the 2016 NBA Finals, which they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Curry helped the Warriors return to the NBA Finals in 2017, 2018 and 2019, winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018, before being defeated by the Toronto Raptors in 2019.

During the 2012–13 season, Curry set the NBA record for three-pointers made in a regular season, with 272. He surpassed that record in 2015 with 286, and again in 2016 with 402. Curry is currently third in all-time made three-pointers in NBA history, and alongside teammate Klay Thompson, the pair have earned the nickname of the Splash Brothers; in 2013–14, they set the record for combined three-pointers in an NBA season with 484, a record they broke the following season, and again in the 2015–16 season.


Photo Credit: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley / Shutterstock.com

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