Oceanside CA— Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside (BGCO) received a $5,000 Sports 4 Life grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation to start an all girls’ volleyball program. The Sports 4 Life initiative, cofounded by the Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW, supports programs that help girls in four foundational areas – leadership, self-esteem, confidence and perseverance – with the expectation that growth in these areas will also support girls’ physical and emotional health and academic success.
BGCO will address each of these important areas of girls’ development through their volleyball program. Volleyball is a popular sport in Southern California due to beautiful weather year-round and the multitude of beach volleyball courts. However not all girls get the opportunity to play; most volleyball programs are expensive and out of reach for low-income youth.
“We are thrilled to receive this Sport 4 Life grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation and their partner, espnW,” said Jodi Diamond, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside “Our program will help girls develop confidence and succeed both on and off the court. This support will allow us to increase access to volleyball for girls in Oceanside. We are so excited!”
The Women’s Sports Foundation and espnW created Sport 4 Life in 2014. The inspiration being 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 – young girls of color are disproportionately excluded. The 2019 class of Sports 4 Life community partners consists of 50 organizations in 27 states across the country, encompassing 44 traditional and non-traditional sports reaching more than 11,000 middle and high school girls.
“The Women’s Sports Foundation believes that all girls – regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ability, zip code or family income – deserve equal access to the lifelong, transformative benefit of sports,” said Deborah Antoine, CEO of the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). “We’re thrilled to see the exciting diversity of this year’s class – from adaptive skiing to karate, lacrosse to roller derby, tumbling to wheelchair tennis – all creating wonderful opportunities for girls of color to shine and thrive. We’re so proud of this initiative, our partnership with espnW, and the truly impactful work of our community partners.”
Since the initiative’s inception, Sports 4 Life has awarded more than 250 grants totaling more than $1.6 million and reaching approximately 60,000 girls nationally. Half of the girls reached by Sports 4 Life programming were not previously participating in sports with regularity, and nearly all girls were interested in continuing sports after participating in Sports 4 Life funded programs. Further, with WSF’s support, the 2019 community partners have been particularly successful in increasing opportunities for girls of color: more than 90% of girl participants identify as African-American or Hispanic.
“We know that sports can help dramatically change the lives of young girls by building leadership skills, developing self-esteem, and experiencing the power of teamwork,” said Laura Gentile, ESPN senior vice president, marketing. “The espnW team, and ESPN at large, are so proud of the program. In the five years since this program began, it’s made a significant impact by serving more than 60,000 girls, changing their lives in a powerful way. With the Women’s Sports Foundation we are making important strides in addressing the disparities that continue to exist for girls in sports today.”
“espnW is excited to continue our collaboration with the Women’s Sports Foundation on the Sports 4 Life program,” said Alison Overholt, who among other responsibilities serves as editor in chief, espnW. “Our espnW storytelling team gives voice to women and girls in sports, sharing their stories of achievement with the world – we love seeing how powerfully these girls’ stories are changed as a direct result of Sports 4 Life.”
Full list of 2019 Sport 4 Life grant recipients can be found here.
About Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside
Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside (BGCO) is a youth development organization that is dedicated to providing a safe, fun and enriching environment for youth to spend time during non-school hours.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Oceanside is a local, independent organization affiliated with Boys & Girls Clubs of America. BGCO raises 100% of the funds that support our life changing programs through individual giving, events and grants. 100% of those funds stay right here in North County to serve youth in our local communities.
We continue to uphold our mission: To inspire, develop and enrich young people to reach their fullest potential as confident, responsible, caring members of society.
About Women’s Sports Foundation
The Women’s Sports Foundation is a powerful voice, catalyst and convener dedicated to ensuring all girls and women have equal access to sports and physical activity and the tremendous life-long benefits they provide. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we seek to strengthen and expand opportunities for all girls and women to participate in all sports at all levels through research, advocacy, community impact and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has relationships with more than 1,000 of the world’s elite female athletes and has positively shaped the lives of more than 3 million youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org, or follow us at @WomensSportsFdn on Twitter, @womenssportsfoundation on Instagram and at www.facebook.com/WomensSportsFoundation.