FAIRFAX, Va. – The Side-Out Foundation and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) honored three students with the 2018 Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet on Friday, December 14. AVCA and Side-Out were happy to announce Jackie Sterenberg (Centennial High School Dig Pink in Ellicott City, MD), Megan Birnbaum (Bowdoin College Dig Pink in Brunswick, ME), and Emma Elizabeth Carter (Rossville Middle School Dig Pink in Rossville, GA) as winners of the 2018 Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award.
As Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award recipients, these three individuals will be awarded scholarships as part of Side-Out’s Ambassador Program. In addition to the scholarships, they received special recognition at Friday’s banquet alongside the top college volleyball players in the country.
“We are so incredibly proud to honor our 2018 National Dig Pink Award winners along with our Ambassador Program scholarship winners,” stated Janice Kruger, Vice President of Programs at Side-Out. “Again this year, we had outstanding participation from all across the USA and even overseas. The work these young people are doing in organizing and running their Dig Pink events at their schools is having impact not only on the AP applicant but also on the students, staff, and teachers in their schools.”
Through programs like the Ambassador Program, The Side-Out Foundation promotes youth education and empowerment to unify the volleyball community and drive change in the way that breast cancer is treated. To be a Side-Out Ambassador, individuals had to host a Dig Pink® event for The Side-Out Foundation, complete breast cancer education, and write an essay about their experiences. This year’s Ambassador list matches last year’s record number of applicants of 20.
“The idea that a bunch of volleyball players could impact cutting-edge cancer treatment would be ridiculous if it were not true,” said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. “Jackie, Megan, and Emma, and the many other Side-Out Foundation volunteers show us each fall what can be done if we can conquer the thought that we are too small to make a difference!”
The Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Award is given to three ambassadors each year who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the sport and to their community. These national honor winners received the highest scores on essays submitted to the Side-Out/AVCA review board outlining their role in staging Dig Pink® events, addressing why they felt connected to the cause, and elaborating on other ways each had given back to the community throughout the year.
“Each year our Dig Pink Ambassadors set out to impact others, which they do, but find once they reflect on the experience that they will never be the same again,” said Kruger.
In addition to the three Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink Award Winners, the following eight individuals earned scholarships for their efforts through the Side-Out Ambassador Program.
- Madeleine Smith (The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, TX)
- Lisa M Alexander (The John Cooper School in The Woodlands, TX)
- Anna Elizabeth Williams (Espiritu Santo Catholic School in Safety Harbor, FL)
- Luryn Hendrickson (Shelton HS in Shelton, NE)
- Libby Chun (Taejon Christian International School in Daejeon, Korea)
- Grace Novakoski (Grand Ledge HS in Grand Ledge, MI)
- Kaylee Ann Prenosil (Pinnacle Juniors in Lincoln, NE)
- Gabrielle Hegedus (Spring-Ford HS in Limerick, PA)
For a full history of Side-Out Ambassadors, visit our Ambassador Program History page.