Photo by Eric Lars Bakke/ESPN Images
Yasmine Sanchez and Billie Jean King during the 2019 Sports Humanitarian Awards presented by ESPN

A Bayside college student was recognized for making a positive impact through soccer at the fifth-annual Sports Humanitarian Awards last week.

Rising sophomore Yasmine Sanchez won the inaugural Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award, which the tennis legend herself presented to Sanchez and three other students.

Winners of the Billie Jean King award are youth who “use the power of sport as a catalyst for change and make a positive impact on society.”

The Bayside student led the design, implementation and management of a free, five-week summer program called Soccer Bloc. Through New York City Football Club’s Youth Leadership Council, the program connects over 500 people from all five boroughs.

Soccer Bloc employs 50 teenagers who teach young people a curriculum on social topics through the lens of soccer. Those in the program learn about diversity and inclusion, healthy lifestyles, safety awareness, self-identity and leadership.

In addition to Soccer Bloc, Sanchez teamed up with the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office to expand the Saturday Night Lights program. The Bayside student aims to get the violence prevention and youth development program to the same zone as Soccer Bloc.

According to ESPN, Sanchez’s goal is to “create positive pathways to engage youth, helping them grow physically and mentally into their early adulthood.”

ESPN and Bristol-Myers Squibb Company presented and sponsored the fifth annual awards, which recognized the efforts of athletes, leagues, teams and members of the sporting community.

The sports media company granted $1 million to honorees’ selected charities. More than $1 million was raised through the net proceeds from the awards, which went toward The Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation.

“Cancer research is advancing at an incredible pace, but we need to do more to ensure each person who is diagnosed with cancer is able to receive the best possible care,” said Susan Sweeney, president and head of U.S. Commercial at Bristol-Myers Squibb. “We’re proud to support the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund at the V Foundation, which is making great progress in its goal to improve outcomes for underserved cancer patients.”

Retired NFL player Chris Long, the National Hockey League, Under Armour and adidas were among the winners at the July 9 awards.

ESPN will show highlights from the Sports Humanitarian Awards on Thursday, July 18 at 7 p.m.

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