espnW, Toyota launch Everyday Heroes
UPDATE (Oct. 10): On Thursday night, Toyota's National Marketing Media Manager, Dionne Colvin, awarded each of this year's Everyday Heroes recipients with a $10,000 grant in support of their efforts.
DANA POINT, Calif. -- espnW and Toyota on Wednesday announced an exciting addition to the espnW Women + Sports Summit -- the Everyday Heroes program.
The program, which honors women who are working to promote and grow sports for girls and women in their local communities, was launched in earnest during a special presentation during the fourth annual Summit in Dana Point, Calif.
Here is a look at this year's recipients, which were introduced by snowboarders Amy Purdy and Elena Hight:
Lazarus, who was a four-sport athlete in high school, has dedicated the past eight years to creating opportunities for girls in Chicago through Game On! Sports Camps 4 Girls, program that holds summer camps that help empower girls (ages 4-14) to develop or enhance their passion for sports. In addition to the camps, Lazarus also created the Game On! Foundation, which raises funds to help young girls gain more opportunities through sports.
Siegal, a pioneer in the baseball community, was the first woman to throw batting practice for an MLB team and coach a men's pro team. Using her milestones as inspiration, Siegal founded Baseball For All, a program that provides meaningful opportunities in baseball, especially for girls.
Akiode grew up playing basketball and graduated as Fordham's sixth all-time leading scorer. After graduating from college, she played professional basketball in Europe and for the Nigerian national team. It was that time with Nigeria that sparked Akiode's dream to build the Hope 4 Girls foundation, which focuses on instilling discipline, developing leadership skills, promoting pro-social friendships and reasserting a sense of hope in the future amongst girls from less privileged backgrounds. Since its launch in March 2010, Hope 4 Girls has opened its doors to girls from Ghana and Benin Republic and helped girls secure student athletic scholarships.