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BAWSI Girls at Lakewood Elementary


BAWSI stands for Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative. The program is offered at Lakewood at no cost to the school or the district. BAWSI (pronounced “bossy”) is a nonprofit organization that creates programs through which women athletes bring health, hope and wholeness to our community. BAWSI was founded by Olympic and World Cup soccer stars Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy, and Marlene Bjornsurd, former general manager of the San Jose CyberRays women’s professional soccer team.

As with many other school programs, an intricate network of connections among district personnel and outside organizations brought the BASWI program, which supports Title 1 schools, to Sunnyvale School District. Pam Murdock, Sunnyvale School District’s Health and Education Materials Assistant, met Marlene Bjornsurd, CEO and Co-Founder of BAWSI, in April 2013, at a Sunnyvale School District collaborative meeting. Bjornsurd approached Murdock about the BAWSI program and her interest in offering the program to the Sunnyvale School District. Murdock then worked on going through a formal application process in June 2013 and Lakewood was selected to receive the BAWSI program this school year. The program is funded through a grant from El Camino Hospital. Jeremy Loader, the district’s Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) contact, works with with Kevin Davis, a 5th Grade teacher at Lakewood who has served as Lakewood’s representative on the district’s Wellness Committee for a few years, on coordination of this program at Lakewood.


The BAWSI program launched at Lakewood with an assembly on September 20th, for girls in Grades 3-5. Brandi Chastain and Julie Foudy came with Marlene Bjornsurd. This star-studded presentation got the girls eager to sign up for the program right away; their excitement was palpable. The Sunnyvale School District and Dr. Picard helped with a weekly late bus so that all students who wanted to participate could do so, even if they ride the bus home each day. The program runs once a week after school and Pam Cheng, principal at Lakewood, observes that the girls absolutely love going every Thursday after school.


Female athletes from Stanford University’s Lacrosse team, St. Frances High School’s Cross Country team, and West Valley Junior College’s Softball team serve as volunteer coaches this fall. BAWSI Girls Teams accepts a maximum of 65 girls. Those interested submitted their application and spaces were filled on a first-come-first-served basis. Everyone who applied was accepted to the 4-week program which ran from September 26 to November 14. Each girl in the program received a free BAWSI t-shirt, a pedometer, and a personal journal. There will be another session at Lakewood in the Spring. At the end of the program, the BAWSI girls will take a field trip to Stanford University for a college tour.

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Contributor: Pam Murdock; also with information from Pam Cheng

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