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Girls in Sports: Building Future Community Leaders

Shoes Today is National Girls and Women in Sports Day, a day to celebrate the role sports play creating healthy, strong, confident women and girls. Forty years after Title IX was signed into law, more than 3.1 million girls play high school sports each year. Sports do more than just keep girls strong and healthy; they build the skills and confidence that create future leaders. One study revealed that over 80% of women in executive positions played organized sports. Those same leadership skills are being used by girls and women around the world to make the world a better place.

One way to mark the occasion? Introduce the girls in your life to athletics, and share your love of sports with your daughters. Since I love to ski, I’m planning to introduce my seven-month-old baby girl to the slopes, so she can chase down her snowplowing big brothers…. eventually. For now, though, I think I’ll just help her work on her army crawl.

Luckily, there’s another way to recognize the role that sports can play in building leaders: check out projects led by inspiring young athletes creating change in their communities, and help these girls have a chance to be recognized for their work.

Credit: Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy

Credit: Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy

Each year, the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy runs the Choose to Matter Contest, recognizing girls’ creative community service projects across the country. And you can help choose the winners.

Last year’s winners gave girls in India a chance to play sports, handmade pillows for hospital patients, and collected shoes for children in Haiti.

This year, the winners in each of five categories – including the new Mom Daughter category – will get to join Julie Foudy (two-time Olympic Gold Medalist and avid champion for the ways sports build girls’ leadership skills) on a trip to the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World. They’ll be youth leaders at the Special Olympics Florida State Summer Games – and get a chance to take a ride on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Visit the Choose to Matter website from February 8 – 15, and vote for your favorite projects.

These girls are doing everything from hosting fundraising drives for homeless shelters and creating exercise videos to raising money for hearing aides. It’ll be hard to choose just five winners who get to say, “I’m going to Disney World!”


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