All of us here at Fangasm are especially proud to be pitching in with a charity auction to help Jared and Gen Padalecki raise money through #RunPadsRun for Dream Big, an organization that provides girls from low income households with the equipment and program fees that are necessary to participate in sports and physical activities. Many young women want to participate, but their economic situations prevent it. Uniforms and equipment are expensive, and so are the soccer and volleyball camps, dance classes, sports clinics and gymnastics classes that allow young women to excel in their sport of choice.
Why is this so important that the Padaleckis are running the Boston Marathon to raise money for the cause? With my psychologist hat on, I decided to find out – and it turns out the research is pretty compelling.
Multiple large-scale studies over the past decade have found a gender gap in youth sports, with girls from urban and low income environments the most impacted. Historically, sports have been an area in which women’s participation is sometimes limited, including access for racial minorities, GLBT+ persons, and women and girls. Girls have faced resistance to their participation, and women’s sports have often been devalued.
Girls are still less likely to participate in school sports as boys and those rates are even more different in lower SES schools and with girls of color from low-income communities. Young women of color from lower SES schools tend to begin participating in sports at a later age and quit sooner.
The lack of participation has wide-ranging effects on young women, unfortunately, as they miss out on significant physical and mental health benefits. Girls’ participation in sports has been found to be related to positive social and emotional outcomes, including higher self esteem, improved academic performance, fewer depressive symptoms, better social skills, higher levels of confidence and self competence, better emotional regulation and emotional wellbeing, less hopelessness and suicidality, better life satisfaction, improved problem solving skills, better psychological resilience, better self control, higher sense of connectedness, less social anxiety, and more positive social self concept.
That’s nothing to sneeze at, especially considering the data for young women in disadvantaged environments, who are at risk for exactly the opposite outcomes!
It turns out that their participation in sports can be empowering because it challenges the very foundations on which gender inequality is based. In addition to improved fitness levels, young women who participate in sports have more opportunities, which can themselves be life changing and enhancing. These include access to scholarships which encourage higher education, the opportunity to travel and meet new people which improves social skills, and experience in learning resiliency and dealing with anger, disappointment and adversity. When girls drop out of sports, they also lose the protective social networks of prosocial peers that come with participation, as well as connections to adult mentors who genuinely care about them.
But access is necessary in order for young women to participate in sports. Young women of color and from low income backgrounds have limited opportunities, including the lack of transportation to get to practice and games, lack of organized sports and facilities in their neighborhood, and financial inability to pay for equipment and registration fees.
Young women from urban areas face unique challenges, both financial and logistical, especially in the middle school grades when transportation and time and work conflicts can be a significant obstacle. If you must have an after school job and your parents work two jobs, there’s no one to drive you to practice. If programs aren’t near home, it can be too costly and difficult to find public transportation. Complicating the situation further, there are also societal beliefs and gender roles that impact these young women’s motivation to participate, including rigid gender roles and stereotypes about athleticism and masculinity/femininity.
These barriers and constraints restrict the significant long-term benefits that young women could gain from being involved in sports. And here is where Dream Big comes in. As a 501c(3) charitable organization, Dream Big provides opportunities for young women who, due to their economic circumstances, are unable to participate in sports. They have provided over $200,000 of equipment, uniforms and footwear, plus scholarships to camps, classes, lessons and sports clinics in conjunction with local college sports teams. As Gen Padalecki put it, “DreamBig! helps move mountains for young girls and this speaks to mine and my husband’s hearts.”
Jared and Gen write about the importance of sports and physical activity in their own lives and childhoods, and it’s important to us as well. Our photographer Kim Prior honed her photography skills as team mom, photographer and booster club officer for her kids’ middle school and high school teams. She understands firsthand the need for uniforms, equipment and registration fees. As treasurer and then president, Kim worked with families to find options like payment plans and scholarships that would allow children to play who would not have been able to otherwise. Kim also served as the Secretary/Registrar for her local youth soccer league for ten seasons. Tournament fees, hotel costs, uniforms, equipment etc. really added up, and often it was young women who couldn’t afford to play, so Kim lobbied the Board of Directors repeatedly to create scholarships and gathered individual donations as well. She remembers it as a hard fought and bittersweet success – and not every young woman who wants to play sports has a Mama Prior in her court!
I don’t know about you, but I’m convinced of the importance of this organization and want to help Jared and Gen give Dream Big a big SPNFamily boost. So we’ve gathered some really special Supernatural items for a charity auction, with 100% of the proceeds going to #RunPadsRun.
First up, we have a copy of Family Don’t End With Blood signed by Jared, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Rob Benedict and Tahmoh Penikett (Gadreel). If you’re not familiar with it, this is the book with chapters actually written by the Supernatural actors. Jared’s chapter is the 30-plus page personal story of how he’s battled and continues to conquer anxiety and depression. He takes us with him through some of the darkest times in his life, and then shares how the SPNFamily and the support of his friends and family got him through them.
Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Rob Benedict, Kim Rhodes, Briana Buckmaster, Ruth Connell, Rachel Miner, Jim Beaver, Matt Cohen, Mark Sheppard, Osric Chau and Gil McKinney share similarly inspiring very personal stories of facing challenges and getting through them with the help of the fandom and each other. The whole point of Family Don’t End With Blood is to counter the stigma and challenges around mental health so you can feel good about being who you are – the actors all realized that the most effective way to do that and to inspire others was to share their personal stories. Dream Big is trying to counter similar stigmas and challenges, so that all young women can have the opportunity to become who they want to be. This item ships free worldwide! Bid on this Item!
We also have an original, never-before-seen pencil sketch of Jared, by artist Sherri D. And it is signed by Jared!
Sherri spent approximately 16 hours working on this piece, and sent it to Kim in time for the convention in Nashville. Jared was blown away by the art. This piece is matted and framed.
Due to the large size (27×27), we can only offer free shipping within the United States; if you live outside of the US, then you will have to pay the shipping fees. Bid on this Item!
Our next item is another gorgeous piece of art, an original painting by artist Christine Griffin, titled “Prayer for the Dying.” This is an 8×10 print, unframed; the final print to be shipped is identical to the image below, minus the text. Bid on this Item!
Lastly, we understand that auctions aren’t for everyone, so we also have a small selection of items on redbubble, thanks to Nat!
Help us help the Padaleckis to make sure Dream Big keeps helping young women reach their dreams!
– Lynn & Kim