She’s championing equity in sports!
Candace Parker is one of the most decorated WNBA players of this generation. Parker’s work on the court has been amazing. But it’s her work off the court that’s making waves now, with Parker advocating for equity in youth sports and access for underserved communities. Recently, the Las Vegas Aces star teamed up with Gatorade to donate $100,000 to youth athletics programs, Essence reports.
Parker partnered with Gatorade to donate $100,000 to the DICK’s Sporting Goods Foundation Sports Matter Program, which helps youth who live in under-resourced communities by covering the cost of registration fees and increasing access to sports programs. Gatorade will also be working with Parker to sponsor the Las Vegas Arbor View High School girls’ basketball team to attend the 2023 WNBA finals, offering access and opportunities to youth directly impacted by her work in their community.
“25 years ago was this even possible? Three years ago, was this possible in terms of being able to send young girls to a professional game to watch the WNBA finals and see women compete on the high stage with media coverage in the longest running sports league for women ever in the history of the United States?,” said Parker.
The mom of two said that, for her, the mission is personal. And she enjoys sharing the gift of sports and all that it offers with other young people, including her daughter, a high school freshman who currently plays basketball and volleyball.
“It’s about getting the life skills and learning the lessons that sports teach you that I don’t think anything else can. I’m able to have a front row seat to my daughter and witness what she’s learning from sports… Being able to watch what she is able to learn every day, I think it just reinforces how important sports are and the ability to have that opportunity for everyone,” Parker explained.
The new partnership will help extend those opportunities to youth who need it the most and create more equity in youth sports, a goal Parker calls “level[ing] the playing field.” She’s hoping to reinforce the importance of investing in our youth and doubling down on the limitless benefits of sports for young people, particularly young girls. For Parker, investment and representation in sports go hand in hand. And she wants to be able to give both to youth who wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity.
“I think it honestly means that everybody is able to be represented and to have a role model that they can look up and see themselves in. I think that’s when we’ve conquered and leveled the playing field…I think it’s super empowering to be a part of this initiative with Gatorade and Sports Matter because it’s a passion of mine. I’ve been able to witness the benefits of it as an athlete, but then now as a mom [I’m] able to watch my daughter – and hopefully my son in the near future – participating in sports,” said Parker.
This article was originally posted to BOTWC