Sports teams, community leaders, residents, and young people gathered in Rosenblum Park in Chicago’s Southside on Wednesday for the inauguration of a newly refurbished softball field dedicated to the local community and its residents.
The field refurbishment aligns with ESPN’s celebration of 50 years since the passage of the landmark Title IX civil rights legislation. The law prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or educational program receiving federal financial assistance. The site in Chicago will expressly offer safe facilities for girls from underrepresented communities to learn and play through sports.
Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship said, “ESPN’s Fifty/50 initiative tells stories of women’s empowerment since the passing of Title IX. We are delighted to play a part in writing the next chapter of Title IX by working alongside organizations such as Lost Boyz Inc., RISE, and love.fútbol, as we empower a new generation of girls by unlocking the benefits that sport can offer through refurbishing this field in Chicago’s Southside.”
Project manager, love.fútbol, a global non-profit which engages communities to create their own sports space projects, led the transformation of the space. Drew Chafetz, Co-Founder, and CEO added, “We’ve built safe sports spaces around the world with ESPN, and are honored by the opportunity to bring this work to the US, to mark and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX with our first softball pitch project in the City of Chicago. At love.fútbol, we utilize sport as a platform to advance gender equality and promote access to play for girls and boys in safe and inclusive environments while impacting the community.”
The Chicago Defender spoke with ESPN’s VP of Corporate Citizenship, Kevin Martinez, and Lost Boyz, Inc founder, LaVont’e Stewart, Sr., about the new softball field, the importance of safe spaces to prevent violence, and the impact of Title IX.
The refurbished softball field will provide access to sport within a neighborhood where 40% of families with children live below the poverty level. It builds on the achievements of Title IX by supporting Lost Boyz Inc., a non-profit organization that focuses on decreasing violence, improving social and emotional conditions, and providing financial opportunities to youth from Chicago’s most vulnerable communities. The organization will use the refurbished field to deliver its Lost Girls MVP Youth Softball Program for girls from underrepresented communities in Chicago. By combining participation in softball with tutoring and civic engagement, the girls can experience positive social relationships and outcomes across many areas of their lives that enhance their individual interests, skills, and abilities.
Sarah Spain, co-host of ESPN Radio’s ‘Spain and Fitz’ show hosted the event, which was attended by community leaders, residents, youth, and representatives from several Chicago professional sports teams (Bulls, Cubs, Sky, and White Sox), plus representatives from the Big Ten Conference.
The post New Softball Field in South Shore to Teach Girls Life Skills Through Sports appeared first on Chicago Defender.