press release Archives - Athletes for Hope

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AFH News

AFH News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AFH to Bring Six Professional, Olympic, Paralympic and Collegiate Athletes to Tanzania for Youth Sports Empowerment Program

WASHINGTON D.C.- On Tuesday, October 18, 2022 a team of nine (9) American athletes and staff from Athletes for Hope (AFH) and World Learning will travel to Arusha, Tanzania as part of a seven (7) day project, “Building Life Skills in Youth Through Sports: Program for Tanzania” geared to empower girls and young women through basketball and sport. This two-way exchange project is a collaboration through the U.S. Department of State’s Sports Diplomacy division in conjunction with World Learning and Athletes for Hope. The initial inbound event included ten (10) Tanzanian young women who participated in cultural, educational and sport-related exchange opportunities while in the Washington, DC area in January 2020.

The seven-day outbound program will include cultural and educational visits, and life skill sessions using the AFH Fit and Whole Being Athlete mental health curriculum conducted by American participants to support sports-based youth development projects in Tanzania. Each activity on the schedule is focused on increased leadership skills, encouraging positive mental health, confidence, inclusion, cross-cultural understanding, female empowerment, and youth development at the Orkeeswa School, in Monduli, Tanzania.

“It’s a privilege to continue to expand the global impact of Athletes for Hope in collaboration with World Learning and the U.S. State Department,” said AFH CEO Jason Belinkie. “We are thrilled to bring core elements of AFH programming to students and educators at the Orkeeswa School through our staff leadership and AFH Athlete participants.”

Athlete participants include Michelle Carter (Olympian, USA Track & Field), Awvee Storey (Coach, WNBA/NBA G League and retired NBA), Chastity Melvin (retired WNBA), Zavier Moore (Southern University Baseball), Lacey Henderson (Paralympian, USA Track & Field), and Megan Montefusco (NWSL, Orlando Pride).

For media inquiries please contact: Kylie Reeves (kreeves@athletesforhope.org) 919-593-7975

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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. To learn more, visit www.athletesforhope.org.

World Learning

World Learning is a global nonprofit empowering people and strengthening institutions through education, sustainable development, and exchange programs. World Learning helps people and communities build brighter futures through six core program areas: people-to-people exchanges, global education, institutional strengthening, youth workforce and entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and TESOL | English teacher training. 

World Learning’s professional exchanges, such as the U.S. Department of State-funded International Sports Programming Initiative include networking opportunities with U.S. and international counterparts, site visits, and industry and community discussions. Programs emphasize experiential learning and leadership development and are customized to the needs and contexts of participants. Through exchange programs, World Learning helps the next generation of global leaders expand their sense of civic responsibility, establish relationships across ethnic, religious, and national lines, and develop the skills and knowledge to transform their communities and countries.

To learn more, visit www.worldlearning.org.

U.S. Department of State, Sports Diplomacy Division 

The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) fosters mutual understanding between the United States and other countries through international educational, professional and cultural exchanges. The Bureau promotes personal, professional, and institutional ties between private citizens and organizations in the United States and abroad, and presents U.S. history, society, art and culture in all of its diversity to overseas audiences. 

The Sports Diplomacy division (formerly SportsUnited) uses the international language of sports as a tool to promote tolerance, understanding and the peaceful resolution/prevention of conflict; to increase awareness among young people of the importance of following a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness in order to prevent illness, substance abuse, and negative behaviors; and to improve the quality of life for persons with disabilities by providing inclusive sports opportunities that contribute to the physical and psychological health of people at all ages who experience disabilities. To learn more about Sports Diplomacy, visit: https://eca.state.gov/programs-initiatives/initiatives/sports-diplomacy/sports-grants

AFH News

Athletes for Hope and Champs Sports Announce Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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 athletesforhope.org/reachout. 

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 (kreeves@athletesforhope.org, 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 www.footlocker-inc.com.

AFH News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Athletes for Hope and Southern University Team Up to Support Mental Health & Wellness

Update | August 29, 2022: You can find a recap of this event in BR Proud.

Baton Rouge, LA, August 16 – Athletes for Hope (AFH) is proud to support the Wellness Festival on the Bluff, presented by NAMI Louisiana, scheduled for Friday, August 19, 2022. The event will take place at the Southern University Event Center (8101 James J Prestage St, Baton Rouge, LA 70807) from 10am to 4pm in collaboration with Southern University Athletics, Student Government Association and the Department of Social Work.

As part of Southern University Athletics’ Fan Fest Weekend, the Wellness Festival will include presentations from mental health professionals and advocates. Highlights include a presentation from NAMI National CEO Daniel Gillison who will raise awareness about the mental health needs of college students and an AFH Whole Being Athlete panel moderated by Dr. Marlin Hollins, Southern University Assistant Athletic Director of Advancement, focusing on campus area mental health resources. Yoga, mindfulness moments and targeted vendors focusing on mental health community support will all round out this incredible day of learning.

“During a time where athlete mental health awareness and suicide prevention is needed more than ever, AFH sees a significant and important opportunity in Baton Rouge to support and strengthen the mental health and wellness resources surrounding Southern University,” said Suzanne Potts, LMSW, MPH, AFH University National Director and Mental Health Program Lead. “We are grateful for the campus community, Southern Athletic Department and NAMI Louisiana for their commitment to making this event a huge success and connecting Southern students with a day of reflection, resource sharing and fun.”

This event is funded in part by a grant from the Pennington Family Foundation which supports a larger initiative with Athletes for Hope University (AFH U), a program that educates and connects student-athletes from LSU and Southern University to service and volunteerism, as well as mental health and advocacy efforts via AFH’s Whole Being Athlete. AFH U launched in 2013 and now operates at 14 university campuses across the U.S., including 5 HBCUs while Whole Being Athlete launched in May of 2021.

For media inquiries, please contact: Kenya Warren-Hollins (kwarren@athletesforhope.org, 504-428-9737)

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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 15 years, AFH has educated more than 10,000 professional, Olympic, Paralympic and collegiate athletes through its Causeway workshop series, and its network includes thousands of athletes across nearly every sport. AFH’s core programs focus on underserved youth physical activity and leadership, 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.