Volley4Change tries to level the playing field in girls’ sports

Three aspiring high school seniors founded Volley4Change to fight injustices they’ve seen firsthand in youth sports.

“Volleyball4Change is an initiative to address inequalities in volleyball, particularly financial and geographic barriers that prevent many girls of color from excelling in the sport,” said co-founder Meg Houseworth.

Volley4Change founders (from left) Cherie Animashaun, Meg Houseworth and Margaret Adams.
Recognition: Heidi Randhava

The newly formed nonprofit aims to help girls overcome racial and economic barriers to entering competitive volleyball — the second most popular sport for girls in the United States, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.

Houseworth, a collegiate volleyball player and soon-to-be senior at Evanston Township High School, and Margaret Adams, also an up-and-coming senior at ETHS, joined Cherie Animashaun, who will be a senior at Niles West High School, for the free summer of Volley4Change to start camp “in hopes of giving girls of all backgrounds an equal opportunity to become high school-level volleyball players,” Animashaun wrote in a letter to the roundtable.

On Saturday, July 30th, the Volley4Change campers and coaches gathered at Clark Street Beach.

“This is our last day’s tournament — a beach day and potluck to celebrate what we’ve created — and it’s very special to have all the girls here,” Houseworth said, adding that girls who aren’t part of the camp are also included were invited to participate fun.

The camp was held at Mason Park in July on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 12pm.

“We had outdoor nets on the lawn and we had coaches who mostly helped middle school-aged girls build skills and athleticism within a team. … We had quite a large audience, so we widened the age range. Our youngest is an aspiring fourth grader and our oldest players are in ninth grade,” Adams said.

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