Two Middle School Participants at YMCA Empowerment Day





The LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games today celebrated International Women’s Day at YMCA-LA’s 2nd Annual Girls Empowerment Day held at Dignity Health Sports Park, gifting 2,100 middle school girls from across the Los Angeles area more than $100,000 worth of sportswear and sports gear to help them be their best on and off the field of play. This donation is part of LA28’s Gift of Sport commitment to help eliminate barriers to participation in sport and build excitement ahead of 2028.


LA28 Athlete Fellow and four-time Olympic silver medalist Kara Lynn Joyce, who swam at the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games, joined a panel to share her journey and how sports and swimming helped her develop a lifelong passion for helping others.


“Sharing the power of sport with these young women is such a special opportunity,” said three-time Olympian and LA28 Athlete Fellow Kara Lynn Joyce. “Sports give us so many long-term benefits we can carry with us for life, from creating community and teaching values to showing up every day and building confidence. These young women are just starting out in life and it’s our job to pay it forward and help empower the next generation of female athletes.”


In addition to Kara Lynn Joyce, eight other Olympians and Paralympians from the LA28 Olympic and Paralympic Games participated in the day’s activities, including two-time Olympic silver medalist Molly Schaus (USA, ice hockey, 2010, 2014), Paralympian Ahkeel Whitehead (USA, track and field, 2016), Olympian Natalie McGiffert (USA, rhythmic gymnastics, 2016), Olympic silver and bronze medalist Missy Ryan (USA, rowing, 1996, 2000), Olympic bronze medalist Marti Malloy (USA, judo, 2012, 2016), Olympian Nina Cutro-Kelly (USA, judo, 2020), Olympic silver medalist Jason Richardson (USA, track and field, 2012) and Olympic silver medalist Kamilla Vaksman (Russia, fencing, 2012).


The LA28 Games will mark Los Angeles’ third time to host the Olympic Games, previously hosted in 1984 and 1932, and first time to host the Paralympic Games. Los Angeles is expected to host more than 15,000 of the world’s most elite athletes in 2028 as it welcomes Paralympians and Olympians from around the world to compete on the biggest stage in sports.


The YMCA-LA is committed to rebuilding communities by providing equitable programs and services to empower all Angelenos. The Y-LA is focused on fighting food insecurity, providing equity in education, making sure every child has the opportunity to experience the joy of sports, ensuring kids and teens have a safe place to grow, learn and live a healthy lifestyle. The LA-Y’s health and wellness initiatives offer medical and mental health resources to ensure everyone has access to basic health needs. During the pandemic, the LA-Y became the safety net for millions of Angelenos. They provided millions of meals, hundreds of thousands of hours of free childcare, arranged critical blood drives, provided showers for the homeless, flu and COVID vaccines as well as medical and mental health assistance.  Visit for more information.