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The Washington Spirit and Leveling the Playing Field (LPF) distributed sports bras to girls in the DC metropolitan community last week as part of the NWSL’s Nationwide Community Impact Program. An event was held at Excel Academy, an all-girls public school in southeast DC’s Barry Farm neighborhood, on Thursday, October 27 to officially hand out the sports bras and educate Excel students on leadership and confidence through sport participation.
The event was made possible in part by Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiative (MOWPI). Making appearances were Spirit players Ashley Hatch, Andi Sullivan, Gaby Vincent and Anna Heilferty. Girls from the academy had the opportunity to make personal connections with the players, asking them questions and gaining valuable insights into their experiences playing sports throughout their lives.
In addition to the valuable interactions with Spirit players, Excel students also received gear from the Spirit and some of the Spirit’s partners as well as sports equipment including soccer balls and basketballs for the school’s P.E. department.
“We can get lost in the numbers sometimes and I’m so grateful we and so many of our partners got to be a part of the person-to-person impact,” said Spirit Community Relations Manager Zoe Wulff. “We are incredibly proud of the fact that we got to be a part of collecting over 10,000 sports bras for LPF this year, but actually getting to spend time with the girls receiving the sports bras and other sports gear reminds us why we started this in the first place.”
To kick off the event, Spirit players Ashley Hatch and Andi Sullivan spoke to the group of students about what the Community Impact Program is, why they felt it was important to promote the retention of sports participation by girls and even a little bit about their roles on the Washington Spirit as the team’s leading scorer and captain, respectively.
Ashley Hatch has played a hand in the Spirit’s community impact efforts all year. Ashley was named the Spirit’s Ambassador for the 2022 Nationwide Community Impact Program and has played an integral role in the success of the initiative, being vocal about her passion in supporting the community. Ashley was involved in the Spirit’s community outreach programs throughout the 2022 season, helping with sports bra collection efforts at home matches and attending local events to connect with the greater DC area.
The Spirit looks forward to continuing its presence in the greater Washington, D.C. community and expanding the work it does to help its neighbors.Through the Spirit’s collaboration with LPF and founding membership of the Washington Coalition of Women’s Professional Sports, fans can expect to see even more of the club around the district as we move into the 2023 season.