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Dream Big! Conference pairs Boston athletes with accomplished women

Posted by Justin Rice  June 12, 2013 01:30 PM

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The third annual Dream Big! Leadership Conference was held earlier this week at UMass-Boston (Photo courtesy of Dream Big!).

The following is a press release from the Dream Big!:

NEWTON, MA, June 10, 2013 – If you need proof that participation in sports plays an important role in empowering girls to succeed, look no further than the Third Annual Dream Big! Leadership Conference.

Presented recently by Dream Big!, and hosted by The University of Massachusetts Boston Division of Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs, more than 150 female athletes and coaches from 22 Greater Boston and Lawrence public schools and sports programs heard true-life accounts from former Olympic, professional, collegiate and high school female athletes about how their involvement in sports – and the mentors and friends they found through those efforts – laid the foundation for phenomenal success in the class room, in their careers and in life.

Emphasizing the equally crucial ‘off-the-field’ benefits, the conference speakers shared insights about how their participation in athletics paved the way for careers as doctors, business leaders, financial advisors, sports management professionals, professors, non-profit leaders, Olympic and professional athletes, scientists and coaches. Importantly, the women answered questions and provided advice to the students about the wide range of sports, educational and career opportunities that are available to them in today’s society and what they could do themselves to make their own dreams come true.

Conference presenters included:
• Connie Bauman: Former Collegiate Volleyball, Basketball and Softball Player; Professor of the Practice of Sports Medicine at Wellesley College and directs the Academic Sports Medicine and Wellness Programs

• Carolyn Campbell McGovern: Former Collegiate Field Hockey, Lacrosse and Track Athlete; High School Basketball, Soccer, Field Hockey & Track Athlete; Deputy Executive Director, Ivy League

• Linda Driscoll: Former High School Basketball, Softball, Soccer & Field Hockey Player; Founder & CEO, Dream Big!

• Andreen Gilpin: Former Collegiate Basketball Player; High School Basketball, Volleyball, Softball & Track Athlete; Quality Assurance Release Supervisor, Boston Scientific Corporation

• Candace Burns Johnson: Former Collegiate Field Hockey & Basketball Player; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Director, Workforce Development

• Amy Latimer: Former Collegiate Basketball Player; High School Field Hockey, Basketball & Track Athlete;
• President, TD Garden

• Dr. Megan Leo : Former Collegiate Soccer Player; High School Soccer, Volleyball and Softball Athlete; Attending Physician - Emergency Medicine, Boston Medical Center

• Rebekah Splaine Salwasser: Former Professional & Collegiate Soccer Player; High School Soccer & Lacrosse All American and All New England in Basketball ; Executive Director, Boston Scholar Athlete Program

• Kristen Rasmussen Tarr: Former WNBA, FIBA and WNBL Professional Basketball Player; Simmons College, Head Women’s Basketball Coach

• Helen Williams: Former Collegiate Basketball Player & Coach, High School Softball Player; Athletic Administration Fellow, Harvard and Author of COACH Like A Mother

• Sarah Keohane Williamson: Former Collegiate Rugby Player; High School Golfer; Partner, Wellington Management

• Sports Clinician - Heather O’Reilly: Three-Time Olympic Gold Medal Winner in 2004, 2008 and 2012, a member of the US Women’s National Team and a Midfielder for the Boston Breakers professional women’s soccer team

Another leadership conference highlight was the motivational speech and soccer clinic given by Heather O’Reilly, Three-Time Olympic Gold Medal Winner in 2004, 2008 and 2012, a member of the US Women’s National Team and a Midfielder for the Boston Breakers professional women’s soccer team. Heathers message to the athletes, based on her personal experiences and injuries, was that no matter what obstacles they faced in life they should never give up and if they work really hard they can succeed at anything and make their own dreams come true.

Student athletes in attendance represented: Beantown Jumpers; Beyond Soccer, Lawrence; Boston Scholar Athletes; Charlestown High School; Dorchester Academy; East Boston High School; John D. O’ Bryant School of Mathematics & Science; Madison Park High School; Roosevelt K-8; Tech Boston Academy and Timilty Middle School.

Founded in 2010, Dream Big!’s mission is to help break down the economic barrier that prevents low income and homeless girls from participating in sports and physical activities. Led by Linda Driscoll, a non-profit and sports management professional for 25 years, she launched the Massachusetts-based 501c3 charitable organization to ensure that all girls, regardless of socio-economic background, have the equipment, uniforms, athletic footwear, program fees, training expenses and supplies they need to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their overall health, fitness, education and well-being. Over the past three years, Dream Big! has already had a direct, positive effect on more than 3,500 girls through equipment, sports attire and athletic footwear donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and the Dream Big! Leadership Conferences.

“Participation in sports gives girls the strength, motivation and tools they need to succeed in life,” Driscoll said. “It was so inspiring to watch the girls throughout the day as they admired and learned from these amazing mentors and female athletes who shared their personal life stories, showed them that they could do and be anything they wanted to, taught them that they should always dream big and emphasized how participation in sports would play an important role in their life’s journey.”

Conference sponsors included:

The University of Massachusetts Boston Division of Athletics and Recreation, Special Projects and Programs

Boston Athletic Association

Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation

CHAMPIONS for Dream Big!

The University of Massachuetts Boston Division of Government Relations and Public Affairs

The University of Massachusetts Boston Office of Diversity and Inclusion

To learn more, donate, volunteer or benefit from Dream Big!, visit www.dream-big.org or call 888-291-7664, ext. 701.

About Boston Public Schools Sports Blog

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Several reporters, editors and correspondents contribute updates, news and features to the BPS Sports Blog:
  • Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at jrice.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
  • Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at butler.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.
Also expect updates from Boston.com High School sports editor Zuri Berry and the Globe staff.