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"I HAVE COME SO FAR FROM WHO I USED TO BE."

Meet Diamond, a past participant of 2020 Beyond Sport Global Awards Shortlister for Health and Well-Being Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation's Dodgers RBI program. Read about how she uses life lessons from the program to continuously improve her well-being and Take the Journey with all of our Shortlisters through December at beyondsport.org/journey

“Growing up I experienced a lot of ‘no’s’. Plenty of people told me certain things that I have accomplished couldn’t be done. It is rare for people with my background and my circumstances to become successful and have an impact... I used to an angry little girl. I was lost and didn’t really know what to do and who to be.”

Diamond, now in her 20s, says she found her turning point in life in the 10th grade through softball. She had participated in the LA Dodgers Foundation’s Dodgers RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program for several years, even helping its regional team make it to the 2018 World Series. Targeting local youth in underserved communities, the program encourages healthy lifestyles and provides social and emotional learning (SEL) among other resources.

At first, she didn’t like the game, but when she encountered some personal challenges, softball ended up sparking something inside her that changed her mind set and approach to life.

“God put me in a situation where I had to fight, and my friends were not there for me. This was the biggest turning point in my life...From that day forward, I realize no one had my back the way softball did. Softball has shaped and formed me to who I am today, a great person on and off the field…understanding how to work together with others, not to be selfish...I have made more people proud and smile playing this game than ever. This forces me to stay on track.”

Diamond went on to college where she not only became a star student-athlete, but maintained her off the field focus on her education and positive goals for her future using the mental and physical life skills she’d gained during Dodgers RBI. 

Research shows that sports can have major physical, mental and emotional benefits, but kids living in low-income neighborhoods have less access. LADF hopes that the program will continue to create opportunities for young people across LA like Diamond to build resiliency and become their own heroes.

“In this world you are either going into a storm or coming out of one. At the end of the day all that matters is how you bounce back from it, and if you will apply everything that you have learned from your lesson, or will you crawl into a ball and wait for someone to save you. Everyone needs to be their own hero and more.”

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