We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Jr. NBA to keep High School and Middle School female athletes in the Richmond community engaged. Starting in February, we will launch three new hybrid Girl Action Teams in the city’s Southside, Northside, and East End. Each program will implement lessons and curriculums from the Jr. NBA’s ‘Her Time To Play’, an initiative launched in 2019 to make the game more accessible and inclusive for the next generation of female players. The program will help girls reflect on issues specific to women athletes and take on social change projects to change them.
This hybrid Girl Action Team will offer girls an opportunity to…
- Stay connected during a time where we are disconnected from peers
- Keep their bodies moving
- Learn about social justice movements by working on one together
- Discuss social change and inequalities in sports among women
- Learn about career opportunities in the sports industry through guest speakers
- Get connected to the Jr. NBA
“The pandemic took so much from society in 2020. Festivals, sporting events, holidays, family gatherings, etc. For Richmond City students it took the ability to come to school, be among peers, and engage in extracurricular activities. School sports play a valuable role when it comes to youth development. Sports can foster physical, social, and emotional health, build confidence, teach leadership and teamwork while also building community and the feeling of belonging that so many children need.” – Girls For A Change CEO, Angela Patton.
Unfortunately for female athletes, the sport they aspire to make their career is entrenched in inequities that span pay, opportunities, leadership roles, and even the way they are treated. Before the pandemic, sports in the United States was having a social justice moment. Female athletes like soccer star Megan Rapinoe were making their voices heard about the gender pay gap and unequal treatment while WNBA players were donning Black Lives Matter T-shirts and sitting out games to protest police shootings.
Girls For A Change hopes to keep that momentum going and inspire the future Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, and Mo’Ne Davis’ of the world to stay connected to the sports they love while also learning the impact their voices can have on the future.
“We want girls to know that despite the pause they are experiencing in sports, you never stop using your voice. When the world opens back up completely, wouldn’t it be cool if girls already had policy enacted to improve their futures?”
Social justice movements in sports are not new. Marginalized athletes have always used their platforms to speak out against injustice. Athletes have been speaking out long before Colin Kaepernick took a knee during the National Anthem. Kathy Switzer (1967 Boston Marathon), Tommie Smith and John Carlos (1968 Olympics), Billy Jean King (1973), Arthur Ashe, and Muhammad Ali are just a few examples from history.
Help Girls For A Change work to close the gaps women face in sports while inspiring the future generation of female change makers and athletes by working with GFAC to recruit girls, becoming a coach for a Girl Action Team, or spreading the word. This opportunity is perfect for athletic leagues who want girls to stay connected to sports, female athletic coaches who want to stay connected to girls during the pause, schools who are looking to keep their sports community engaged, and women looking to help keep female athletes engaged. Anyone interested can fill out the interest form here. All Girl Action Team coaches are required to go through GFAC training to learn the curriculum. Training is on Saturday, February 6. Register here.