Thursday, June 17, 2021
Laureus Youth Summit Uses Sport to Create Change
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published July 18, 2019

Union Bank student bankers pose with Laureus CEO Benite Fitzgerald Mosley (far left) and Olympian Edwin Moses (far right). (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation brought together youth from around the country for the Laureus Youth Leadership Summit. At the Summit, 100 students exchanged ideas, engaged in interactive activities and spoke with Olympians.

“Our mission is to improve the lives of youth and unite communities through the power of sport,” said Laureus CEO and Olympian Benita Fitzgerald Mosley. “I want to help youth and adults alike win gold medals in their lives,”

Many leaders from well-known organizations spoke during panel discussions, explaining how their company did outreach and giving advice to the participants. Under Armor, the All State Foundation, the NBPA Foundation, and the LAFC were some of the organizations who were represented during the summit.


Through interactive activities and open discussions youth from around the country were able to connect and express their opinions and backgrounds with one another while learning how to use their voice to make a difference; different organizations expressed how the participants can galvanize youth.

“There are some incredible young people who have overcome some incredible challenges in their lives,” said four-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Johnson. “They have an overwhelming desire and they feel a pull to come back to that community … and help others in the same way they were able to help themselves.”

Johnson helps support youth through his organization ‘Michael Johnson Youth Leaders.’ Other Olympians like fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, Angela Hucles, and Edwin Moses shared their stories and wisdom with Summit attendees.

(l to r) Laureus CEO Benita Fitzgerald Mosley, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Angela Hucles Mangano and Edwin Moses speak to the youth (Amanda Scurlock/L.A. Sentinel)

Moses talked about the dedication and hard work he put into training for what became his record breaking performance for the 400m hurdles in the 1976 Olympics. Muhammad talked about qualifying for Team USA in 2016, at a time when there was negative talk on Muslims in the politics.  Hucles explained how the 1999 U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s victorious World Cup run shifted more interest on women’s soccer.

Muhammad makes sure to tell the children that she speaks to how they can achieve any dream that they have.

“You have to find your own definition of success and not allow society to dictate to you what you’re capable of,” she said. “I’m really thankful that maybe through faith or whatever it is I was able to see that a lot earlier than I think most people do.”

Hucles advice was to expect the unexpected and be adaptable in different circumstances.


“In life, you’re gonna have things that aren’t gonna go as planned,” Hucles said. “It’s really being able to flow with it and have the flexibility and have the confidence to know that  you can still push through that adversity.”

During her panel discussion, Muhammad encouraged participants to support others despite their differences. Muhammad has a children’s book coming out this September.

Nichol Whiteman explained the impact of the Dodgers foundation by talking about the 51 Dodgers Dreamfeilds that reside throughout Los Angeles. Luke O’Quinn from the LAFC noted how the Club’s Leadership program allows their participants to lead soccer clinics as coaches and how they learn professional development skills

“It’s been very nice being here,” said Cheyenne Copland, who is a student banker with Union Bank. “Seeing so many people with huge platforms just here for the kids,”

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