US-Mexico-Nicaragua International Sports Programming Initiative

The US-Mexico-Nicaragua International Sports Programming Initiative, organized by WorldChicago and the Women Win Foundation, is a US Department of State-sponsored exchange program that aims to promote sports as a tool for development, particularly in women's empowerment, gender equality, and youth leadership.

The program is currently looking to enroll aspiring and non-elite coaches and administrators of Girls Sports (aged 20 and over) from the United States in a virtual exchange, scheduled to run from November 6 to December 18, 2020, and a tentative in-person exchange in Chicago, scheduled to occur in May 2021.

American participants will benefit from the following perks:

  • FREE access to a series of expert-led workshops on coaching and sport administration for social change from November 6 - December 18, 2020.
  • Double-Goal Coaching Certification from the Positive Coaching Alliance at ZERO cost.
  • Meaningful cultural and professional exchanges with athletic professionals from Mexico and Nicaragua.
  • Recognition as program alumni of the US Department of State and exclusive access to alumni support resources.

If you are interested in promoting equal opportunity in sports and expanding your professional network in Latin America, apply today at:

Questions? Contact Brian Peckrill at [email protected] or Thi Nguyen at [email protected].

Closing The Dream Gap

Research shows that gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children's interests over the longterm. The average age that girls stop thinking they can be and do anything is six years old. That's when girls become less likely than boys to see themselves as "really, really smart."

This phenomenon is called the 'Dream Gap' and it stands between every girl and her full potential. It runs the gamut for girls and women around the world--from being unable to identify as very intelligent to being far less likely to picture their future selves as scientists, engineers or working in any STEM career role -- even when girls outperform boys in math and science.

The erosion of girls' confidence and self-esteem is well underway at age six, and they cannot imagine the possibility of anything else. Dreaming is the key to a future in which more than 80% of jobs are STEM-related.

The Dream Gap not only robs girls of their ability to value themselves but it takes away their ability to imagine new possibilities, explore new worlds and think new thoughts, which is what makes innovation and new breakthroughs possible.

How do we keep our girls dreaming? We keep them playing according to Mattel, the maker of Barbie.

The richest forms of play can help girls imagine themselves as athletes, scientists, coders, engineers, mathematicians or anything.

For nearly 60 years, Barbie has led girls on a path to self-discovery and helped them to imagine the possibilities. This type of play has the power to close the Dream Gap.

At Play Like a Girl, we're seizing this opportunity to harness the natural properties of sport (or active play) to propel young women into male-dominated careers--especially at the intersection of STEM and sports.

We envision a world where all girls have the confidence and opportunity to become unstoppable women. Let's inspire the next generation by showing them that they can be and do anything they can imagine.

Athletes As Activists

Play Like a Girl was recently invited to be a part of the United State of Women (USOW) Summit after Dr. Kim's work with the espnW Women + Sports workgroup on athlete activism in 2017. The USOW Summit brought together more than 6,000 women and allies for a program featuring women leaders like former First Lady Michelle Obama, actors and activitists Tracee Ellis Ross, Yara Shahidi and Jane Fonda.

A number of elite women athletes headlined the event including Swim Cash, Mackenzie Hill, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Leslie Osborne and Gabrielle Reece. Their sessions showcased how they have defined a powerful vision through their trailblazing work breaking down barriers and building bridges in sports.

We believe that activist efforts seek to change the social climate and structures that make volunteerism necessary, yet few people understand their service as an important contribution to larger structural social change. To add to this already empowering summit, a team of Play Like a Girl Board members (including Jenne Blackburn, Nailah Ellis Timberlake, Adrienne Jordan, Corey Meyerson and Kenisha Rhone) traveled to Los Angeles to talk up the power of athlete activism.

Our goal was to help female athletes and laypersons understand the power and necessity of activism in achieving social change, and to reframe volunteerism and service as an effective act of dissent. We partnered with Paralympian Scout Bassett, Yahoo! Sports analyst Liz Loza and Dr. Jen Welter--the first woman coach in the NFL--to share stories of women who have found their voice and used it to support causes they believe in.

Our own Board member and MLB executive Celeste Bell was also a major voice on the panel, highlighting Play Like a Girl programs and sharing how athletes and those passionate about sport can propel our efforts to level the playing field for girls and women in sports.

Video from the Summit is available at