The Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI) connects young girls from low-income communities with female athletes to show them they are capable of changing the world.
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It is one of the most iconic sports photographs in history.
United States Women’s National Soccer Team (USWNT) star Brandi Chastain stripping off her jersey and falling to her knees in a sports bra to celebrate her 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning penalty kick.
At that moment, women’s soccer was elevated in the minds of young girls across the country.
Riding a wave of popularity for the sport, the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) was founded in February 2000 and rostered 20 USWNT players across eight times.
When the short-lived league folded following the 2003 season, Chastain and fellow USWNT/WUSA star Julie Foudy were determined to continue the league’s impact on the communities it served.
Teaming up with San Jose CyberRays general manager Marlene Bjornsrud, the women co-founded the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative (BAWSI, pronounced “bossy”) in 2005.
Female athletes are the secret sauce.
Believing women’s sports can change the world, BAWSI aims to connect 2nd through 5th-grade girls from underserved communities with female athletes.
Once a week, local volunteer athletes spend an hour and fifteen minutes changing lives.
During these weekly sessions, they teach fitness, teamwork, self-confidence, leadership, and how to deal with failure and success.
If I can see her, I can also be like her.
By being present and engaged, the athletes become role models to the young girls. The girls see their confidence, strength, and the difference they’re making in the community.
To learn more about BAWSI, visit BAWSI.org