Los Angeles/Calif., August, 18, 2020 – Woodcraft Rangers announced today it received a Sports 4 Life grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). The Sports 4 Life program, cofounded by the WSF and espnW, supports organizations that provide developmental youth sports opportunities to girls of color to help them develop 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.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges, Woodcraft Rangers is adapting to continue serving girls through digital programming. Woodcraft’s BIRCH program has delivered sports activities via text message to almost 5,000 families since it launched in April. Each afternoon, three days a week, caregivers and youth receive a physical activity that helps keep them active through BIRCH. In addition, Woodcraft’s digital enrichment offering has helped coaches to stay engaged with youth during the school year and over the summer. In this program, coaches created videos showcasing agility drills and posted them to Woodcraft Rangers’ YouTube channel. Each week, soccer and basketball coaches added to the drills to help student athletes build their skills, maintain their physical fitness, stay connected to coach mentors, and prepare them for team play when they are able to safely return to the fields and courts.

“We are thrilled to receive this Sport 4 Life grant from the Women’s Sports Foundation and their partner, espnW,” said Julee Brooks, Chief Executive Officer of Woodcraft Rangers. “Our organization’s mission is to guide young people as they explore pathways to purposeful lives. As they explore these pathways guided by trained mentors, participating in a wide array of sports programs including soccer, skateboarding, rugby, volleyball, martial arts, basketball and flag football to name a few, helps them to discover their talents, build their skills, learn sportsmanship and gain confidence. This support will allow us to recruit and train female coaches and keep more girls engaged in our sports programs.”

As the dual crisis of a global pandemic and the long-standing impact of racial injustice continue to grip the country, the goal and support of initiatives like Sports 4 Life is more important than ever before. Research has shown that sports participation offers tremendous life-long benefits, from improved physical health and self-esteem, to better grades in school and enhanced leadership skills. Yet young girls of color are disproportionately excluded from sport access and participation.

Woodcraft Rangers joins the 2020 class of Sports 4 Life community partners that includes 25 organizations in 14 states including Washington D.C., representing 23 different sports. All together, these programs are expected to serve more than 7,700 middle and high school girls.

“This year is certainly unlike any other, yet the very core of the Sports 4 Life initiative remains steadfast – to use the power of sport to support, encourage and inspire girls of color to unlock their full potential,” said WSF CEO Deborah Antoine. “These incredibly vital community programs are finding creative ways to keep their girls engaged, from online camps to virtual one-on-one coaching, to delivering supplies and equipment to girls’ homes. All are working hard to turn this difficult time into an opportunity for growth. WSF is proud of this initiative and its continued relevance and impact, and are grateful for our partnership with espnW.”

Since its inception in 2014, the Sports 4 Life initiative has reached 163 community organizations in 32 states – plus Washington D.C. and U.S. Virgin Islands – with over $1.9 million in grants reaching more than 67,000 girls in over 50 sports. 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 programming.

“The espnW team is so proud of the program and the tens of thousands of young girls it’s reached over the past six years,” said Rachel Epstein, ESPN senior director, Emerging Properties & Brands. “We know the power of sports in changing lives, building self-esteem, developing leadership skills and championing the importance of teamwork. With the Women’s Sports Foundation, we continue to make necessary steps and affect much-needed change in addressing the inequities that exist for girls of color in sports today.”

“We are thrilled to continue espnW’s collaboration with the Women’s Sports Foundation on the Sports 4 Life program,” said Alison Overholt, ESPN senior vice president, Multiplatform Storytelling and Journalism. “In the six years since Sports 4 Life’s inception, the program has made an indelible impact on young girls of color in sports. ESPN’s dedication to women and girls through our storytelling has never been stronger, and our passion for improving lives through sports starts with our content and our commitment to programs like Sports 4 Life.

Full list of 2020 Sport 4 Life grant recipients can be found here: https://www.womenssportsfoundation.org/wsf_programs/sports-4-life-community/ 

About Woodcraft Rangers

For 98 years Woodcraft Rangers has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of underserved youth in greater Los Angeles through its enriching afterschool and camp programs. Currently, these programs are provided to approximately 14,000 youth, ages 4 to 18, from 78 public schools in high-need Los Angeles County communities including the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Central Los Angeles, South Central/Watts, and the Southeast cities. Woodcraft’s programs are responsive to the cultural and social priorities of each community and designed to help children mature into healthy, productive adults through positive experiences and age-appropriate challenges. These programs are guided by 500 qualified and committed staff who are intentionally recruited from the same communities Woodcraft serves.

About the Women’s Sports Foundation

The Women’s Sports Foundation exists to enable girls and women to reach their potential in sport and life. We are an ally, an advocate and a catalyst. Founded by Billie Jean King in 1974, we strengthen and expand participation and leadership opportunities through research, advocacy, community programming and a wide variety of collaborative partnerships. The Women’s Sports Foundation has positively shaped the lives of millions of youth, high school and collegiate student-athletes, elite athletes and coaches. We’re building a future where every girl and woman can #KeepPlaying and unlock the lifelong benefits of sport participation. All girls. All women. All sports. To learn more about the Women’s Sports Foundation, please visit www.WomensSportsFoundation.org

About espnW

espnW is a global multiplatform brand dedicated to engaging and inspiring women through sports. espnW.com, the brand’s content home, offers total access to female athletes and the sports they play, takes fans inside the biggest events, and captures the biggest trends in sports life/style. espnW also provides a unique point of view on the sports stories that matter most to women and highlights the crossroads of sports and culture. Founded in July 2010, espnW’s content and voices live across digital, television, radio, films, events, educational platforms and social media.

Media Contacts:

Julie Stephens

Woodcraft Rangers

323-301-6646

jstephens@woodcraftrangers.or

Patty Bifulco
Women’s Sports Foundation
631.230.3322
PBifulco@WomensSportsFoundation.org

Amanda Brooks

ESPN PR

704-973-5042

Amanda.D.Brooks@espn.com

 

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