It's so exciting to see how far we have come as women in sports and in the world, but I know we still have work to do. For example, this is the first year since 1996, softball will not be in the Olympic games - and that's heartbreaking for me. I always wanted to leave the game in a better place than I found it, to allow more and more girls to experience this sport that I love and that has given so much to me. We are currently petitioning to have softball reinstated for the 2020 games, but we truly have our work cut out for us. As we work toward the goal of reinstatement, we are also working on ways to continue to educate and inspire the next generation of female athletes.
My alliance with Club Diamond Nation and The Women's Sports Foundation has enabled me to do just that: provide young athletes a place to learn, train, connect, and create opportunities.
Club Diamond Nation is a virtual baseball and softball academy that offers a social venue for players around the world. As part of the pre-launch efforts, I was asked to take part in their Charity Challenge. I am competing with four baseball greats in an effort to win a total of $25,000 for my charity. When I was approached with the opportunity to take part in the Charity Challenge, I thought who better to compete for right now, as we celebrate the anniversary of Title IX, than The Women's Sports Foundation.
The Women's Sports Foundation was founded in 1974, by Billie Jean King and is dedicated to advancing the lives of girls and women through sports and physical activity. Without women like Billie Jean King and organizations like The Women's Sports Foundation, I wouldn't have had all of the amazing opportunities I did while playing, and that I continue to have.
The foundation continues to lead the charge in keeping women and girls in the game and does amazing work with young female athletes. A recent research study done by the foundation about how involvement in sports benefits young women showed tremendous results. The research study showed that grades, self-esteem, and body image are all significantly improved for those who are involved in sports -- especially young girls. The positive effect that participating in sports has on the lives of girls is immeasurable.
My association with The Women's Sports Foundation is going on close to 10 years now, and it has truly been an honor. I sit on the foundation's athlete advisory board where I have been able to see first-hand the opportunities it has created along with its impact in our world.
Through The Women's Sports Foundation, I've had the honor of going to Capitol Hill to share the impact of sports and Title IX. Title IX is about equal opportunity at educational institutions that receive federal funding. It is not just about sports, but opportunities for women to play sports have certainly arisen from the passage of Title IX.
Sports have given me the platform to live out my dreams. And now, more importantly, I can encourage and be a role model for young athletes. That's why I'm so grateful to have partnered with Diamond Nation to develop my own Jennie Finch Softball Academy, to be a featured contributor on ClubDiamondNation.com, through which I'm able to support The Women's Sports Foundation. It's another opportunity to play a role in teaching the game the right way and, most of all, teach life lessons that the sport I love provides.
Please vote for me in the Diamond Nation Charity Challenge at www.clubdiamondnation.com and help support The Women's Sports Foundation.