This week, the two announced that Play Academy — created in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good last August — is expanding its outreach to Los Angeles and Haiti, where it will collaborate with local sports-based organizations to help support today’s young girls participating in sports.
Nike’s Play Academy was created alongside Osaka, who incorporated her own personal experiences — as an athlete — and cultural heritage into the program’s mission, to help change the lives of other young girls like herself.
“I’m passionate about breaking barriers that girls face when it comes to opportunities to access and benefit from play and sport,” Osaka shared in a statement. “Play Academy’s expansion represents an even greater opportunity to do that.”
Osaka shared the expansion news with her followers on social media in what she describes as “The Next Chapter of Play Academy.”
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She captioned her Instagram post saying, “Hey LA, it’s time to level the playing field. With the support of @Nike and @laureussport, we’re officially launching the next chapter of Play Academy with Naomi Osaka. Join me in creating more opportunities for girls in Los Angeles to access and benefit from play and sport.”
The academy originally kicked off in Japan — where Osaka was born — and is now continuing in new cities to cater to young girls of all communities, especially Black, Asian and Latino communities.
“The beauty of Play Academy is that it reflects all of the communities where Naomi has a personal connection,” Caitlin Morris — Nike VP, Social & Community Impact — said in an announcement. “We share her belief that play is for everyone. Young girls in places like Los Angeles and Haiti may have different social and cultural reasons for why play and sport have been difficult to access, but in the end, they all need an opportunity to play – as well as authentic role models like Naomi, who fully embrace who they are and what they believe in.”
In addition to its three Japanese community organizations, Play Academy will also be working with both Los Angeles and Haiti-based organizations, including GOALS Haiti. Its first group of partners will be announced later this summer.
For more information about Nike’s Play Academy, click here.