Women's National Team Athletes Giving Back

By Bill Kauffman | April 20, 2015, 6:24 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 20, 2015) – Members of the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team are accustomed to giving back to the volleyball community, whether in Anaheim where the team trains, their hometowns, competitions around the world or even sending positive, uplifting video messages to those in need around the world.

A trio of team leaders has taken it a step further with the creation of the Give it Back Foundation. Founded by 2012 Olympic silver medalists Courtney Thompson (Kent, Wash.), Tama Miyashiro (Kaneohe, Hawaii) and Christa Dietzen (Hopewell Township, Pa.), the Give It Back Foundation was created to inspire and empower the next generation of volleyball players as well as to engage communities by supporting local organizations.

The vision of GIBF is to run volleyball camps in the hometowns of the elite athletes. In partnership this summer with Puget Sound Region Volleyball Club, they will cultivate self-confidence, self-awareness, leadership skills, and an excitement that allows every athlete to enjoy the process of working towards their goals.

“I am continually humbled and thankful for the opportunity we have to make a difference in the sport of volleyball, that has given us all a really fun way to experience the world,” Thompson said. “The response to the Give It Back Foundation from my teammates, our communities and the players we will eventually coach has been inspiring, and we can't wait to get started. All of us on the national team remember what it felt like to be a young kid who could only dream of getting to compete at the next level, and we're so excited to help each kid further develop their tool kit that allows them to pursue whatever dreams they might have with more knowledge and excitement.”

The initial camp is scheduled to be held Aug. 1-2 at Kentwood High School in Thompson’s hometown of Kent, Wash. The Saturday session is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., while the Sunday session is 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The camp is designed for incoming eighth grade students and older. The camp is already sold out, but individuals can be added to the wait list by visiting the Puget Sound Region Volleyball at psrvb.org.

The Foundation’s impact is two-fold; all net profits of the camp will be given back to make an impact in the community that they teach and serve. The first beneficiary of the camp is Children’s Therapy Center in Kent, Wash.

“All profits from this camp will be donated to Children's Therapy Center of Kent, which is a non-profit that works to maximize the potential of kids with disabilities,” Thompson said. “It is especially close to my heart because my mom worked as a pediatric physical therapist there for over 30 years. CTC is an incredible organization, which is why we're so excited to have a goal of raising $100,000 to support their mission.”

Individuals can also support the GIBF and its mission by donating funds at GiveItBackfoundation.org.

At this stage, GIBF has eight members of the U.S. Women’s National Team involved in the project, including Thompson, Miyashiro, Dietzen, Jordan Larson-Burbach (Hooper, Neb.), Foluke Akinradewo (Plantation, Fla.), Kristin Hildebrand (Orem, Utah), Nicole Fawcett (Zanesfield, Ohio) and Nicole Davis (Stockton, Calif.) All are Olympic silver medalists, 2014 FIVB World Champions or both.

Each of the camps’ coaches has had the honor of representing the United States of America in the Olympics and or the World Championship competitions.

The U.S. Women’s National Team members feel very fortunate to have had some incredible experiences through the game of volleyball, and want to pass on what they’ve learned, and continue to learn, to the next generation of volleyball players who may one day reach the Olympics as well.

“My wish is to pass along tools that I have learned that will help others on and off the court to be the best version of themselves,” said Miyashiro, who along with Thompson, were standout athletes at nearby University of Washington. “At GIBF we want to empower youth to work hard towards their goals and encourage them that with the right mindset they can accomplish so many things.”

“I am thrilled for our inaugural camp in August 2015 with seven of my dearest friends and teammates,” Dietzen said. “Our hope is to start a tradition that will leave a lasting legacy for generations to come.”

About Give It Back Foundation:
Give It Back Foundation exists to bring funding and awareness to the local charities while inspiring and empowering young athletes through sport and an overall approach to living with a championship mindset.

Through sport camps members of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team will cultivate self-confidence, self-awareness, leadership skills, and an excitement that allows every athlete to enjoy the process of working towards their goals and becoming their best self.

About Children's Therapy Center:
Children’s Therapy Center is the largest and most comprehensive nonprofit pediatric therapy program in Washington State. Since 1979, they have provided essential services and products for children including physical, occupational and speech therapy; early intervention services; and orthotics and equipment. In partnership with parents and caregivers, they celebrate where each child is today and work toward who they can become.

Contact Information:
Website: www.GiveItBackFoundation.org
Email: info@GiveItBackFoundation.org
Twitter: @GiveItBackFDN
Instagram: @GiveItBackFDN
Facebook: @GiveItBackFDN