BAWSI (pronounced bossy) stands for Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative. BAWSI 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.
BAWSI is a FREE after-school soccer program that supports Title 1 schools. Grants from El Camino Hospital and Kaiser Permanente have provided BAWSI with this wonderful opportunity for the Lakewood and Vargas girls, grades 3-5.
In 2013-2014, Lakewood was selected to participate in the Fall/Spring BAWSI program (two 8-week sessions: Fall and Spring). In February 2014, Marlene Bjornsurd, CEO, contacted Pam Murdock, Sunnyvale School District’s Health & Education Materials Assistant, and shared that BAWSI would be able to add another school in the spring. It was decided that Vargas would get the BASWI spring session.
The BAWSI staff (Brandi Chastain, Founder, and Marlene Bjornsrud, CEO) and the volunteer coaches began at Lakewood and Vargas with a motivational kick-off assembly for all girls in grades 3-5 introducing the program. After the assembly, the girls were given an application. For those interested, their parents needed to complete the form and return it to the their school office the next day. The program can only accommodate 65 girls at each school; therefore the applicants are selected on a first-come first-served basis.
The coaches who work with the BAWSI girls are college women athletes from San Jose State and Santa Clara University. The coaches provide physical fitness activities and an organized sport one day a week for 75 minutes, in this after-school program.
Once the girls were selected for the 2014 spring session, they were surprised with an opportunity to attend a Stanford Women’s Basketball game at Stanford University on Saturday, March 1, 2014. Stanford Women’s Basketball Coach, Tara VanDerveer, raised the funds to pay for the FREE trip for the BAWSI girls. The field trip included bus transportation to Stanford University, a girls’ basketball clinic with professional athletes, a boxed meal and tickets to the Stanford vs. Washington State basketball game.
The BAWSI coaches/staff chaperoned the girls for the event, along with Principal, Pam Cheng (Lakewood), teacher, Laura Myers (Lakewood), Principal, Annette Grasty (Vargas) and teacher, Cecilia Mendoza-Torres (Vargas).
The girls’ families were also invited to attend the game at no cost but had to provide their own transportation to and from the event. The BAWSI girls’ Stanford visit was well attended, with 57 girls and 79 family members from Vargas and 61 girls and 78 family members from Lakewood.
Approximately 45 Stanford female athletes volunteered their time at the BAWSI Game Day event to ensure the BAWSI girls enjoyed their experience on a college campus and hopefully were also inspired to set goals to attend college.
The event was awesome and well organized! The girls were full of energy as they filled the stands with their enthusiasm and excitement wearing their Stanford “Red Hands” cheering on the Stanford Team! Stanford beat Washington State with a score of 84-64 that evening, which was very exciting for our BAWSI girls!
Sunnyvale School District is grateful for Stanford’s assistance and support.
Contributor: Pam Murdock, Health and Education Materials Assistant, Sunnyvale School District