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Athletes for Hope and Champs Sports Announce Partnership


WASHINGTON D.C.- In honor of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Athletes for Hope (AFH) is proud to announce its partnership with one of the largest, athletic sports-specialty retailers in North America Champs Sports.

As part of the partnership, Champs Sports has donated $30,000 to AFH to help shatter the stigma of mental health and empower all athletes. Champs Sports’ donation to AFH will go towards education, training and resource creation related to athletes’ mental health, as well as fund AFH’s “Pledge to Reach Out” campaign. The pledge states: It starts with showing up, and a willingness to listen. It doesn’t need to be perfect, or filled with advice. It starts with reaching out.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Champs Sports as they are committed to raising awareness of mental health issues that affect athletes across all sports,” said Jason Belinkie, CEO of Athletes for Hope. “At Athletes for Hope, our goal is to break down barriers and provide help to those in need, and we recognize the power of sharing one’s own experiences in order to inspire others. With the support of Champs Sports as well as star athletes, we hope the “Pledge to Reach Out” campaign encourages all athletes to show up, listen and reach out.”

In support of the pledge, Champs Sports, in partnership with Athletes for Hope, launched a World Mental Health Day campaign on 10/10. The campaign features Washington Commanders Offensive Lineman Chris Paul and Olympian and World Cup Alpine Ski Racer Alice Merryweather, both of whom have grappled with mental health issues within their careers and have fought to overcome them.

“As athletes, it’s so important to use our platform to welcome conversations about mental health, or share our own experiences with mental health so people know they are not alone,” said Chris Paul, Washington Commanders Offensive Lineman and Athletes for Hope Mental Health Ambassador. “Mental health care deserves more of a spotlight, and we should all aim to do more for our ourselves and our peers in order to challenge the stigma that surrounds mental health in sports.” 

In the campaign, Alice and Chris speak about what they do to stay mentally healthy and balanced, no matter what life throws at them, and encourage others to seek help if needed. They are also shown in photos that represent what these athletes do to help keep a healthy mind – spend time in nature, ride horses, collaborate with friends, attend educational conferences, and more. They’ve both signed the “Pledge to Reach Out” and encourage everyone to join them by visiting 

To kick off the campaign, Champs Sports hosted a Mental Health Day event at Champs Sports Homefield in Pembroke Pines, FL on Sunday, October 9th for local high school and college athletes. The events consisted of yoga, mindfulness, and meditation sessions led by Athletes for Hope ambassadors Kendall Ellis and Rachel McNair

Champs Sports will dedicate the entire next month to mental health initiatives including a continued partnership with AFH to provide education and resources to athletes in need.  

For media inquiries, please contact: Kylie Reeves (, 919-593-7975)

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About Athletes for Hope

Founded by Muhammad Ali, Andre Agassi, Mia Hamm and nine other elite athletes in 2006, Athletes for Hope (AFH) is a cause-neutral non-profit that educates, encourages, and empowers athletes to find their passions and use their time to positively engage with their communities. Over the past 16 years, AFH has educated more than 10,000 professional, Olympic, Paralympic and collegiate athletes through its Causeway workshop series, and helped athletes volunteer with hundreds of underserved schools and impactful community organizations through core programs that focus upon helping underserved children become more physically active, changing the public stigma around mental health, and brightening the lives of children in hospitals. Through their dedication and passion for doing good, AFH athletes have positively impacted the lives of millions around the world.

About Foot Locker, Inc.
Foot Locker, Inc. leads the celebration of sneaker and youth culture around the globe through a portfolio of brands including Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Eastbay, atmos, WSS, Footaction, and Sidestep. With approximately 2,800 retail stores in 28 countries across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, as well as websites and mobile apps, the Company’s purpose is to inspire and empower youth culture around the world, by fueling a shared passion for self-expression and creating unrivaled experiences at the heart of the global sneaker community. Foot Locker, Inc. has its corporate headquarters in New York. For additional information please visit