Leveling the Fields opens up sports to more girls

It was the seventh time Melyssa Jaskiewicz attended the National Sports Forum, but this year was different. 
For the first time, an all-female panel took center stage. Among them was author Macaela MacKenzie, whose words resonated deeply with Jaskiewicz.
“Macaela talked about how sports give women ownership of their own bodies and highlighted the fact that of the 24% of women that have reached the executive C-suite of their careers, 97% of them played sports,” Jaskiewicz remembered. “Then it was the words of Curtis Walker, who, in his acceptance speech for an award at NSF, stated that if you have the capacity and power to help, you have the obligation to do so.”
It was these panelists that inspired the Clements Ferry resident to channel her passion into action and create Leveling the Fields, a nonprofit aimed at empowering young girls through sports. 
The organization focuses on supporting girls in rural areas and Title I schools, helping them overcome barriers related to logistics, availability of sports options, and financial constraints.
“Our mission is to get more girls into sports as a catalyst for building future women leaders,” Jaskiewicz said. “We have mapped out several programs, each one essential to exposing girls to different sports, keeping girls in sports, and creating an environment of safety and support for the girls and their families.”
Jaskiewicz has been in the sports business for over a decade, so starting the nonprofit felt like a personal calling. Alongside her sister Olivia and father Steve Ferber, she helps operate Sideline Sports, working with pro and semi-pro sports teams, providing digital activations for their fans and sponsors. Jaskiewicz said her background in the sports tech firm has helped bring her new nonprofit into fruition. 
Since its inception in February 2024, Leveling the Fields has already received a positive response from the community. 
“Every time we talk to folks [about Leveling the Fields], they get excited and tell us this is going to be huge,” Jaskiewicz said. “The true test will be 10 years from now when the girls in our third through fifth grade 12-week programs finish high school. We know that sports participation among girls drops around age 14 now, so we’ll be able to see if we move the needle.” 
The organization’s pilot program will launch at Philip Simmons Elementary School this September, introducing young girls to three different sports over 12 weeks. Jaskiewicz and her team will measure success initially by the number of girls participating in the programs and the leadership roles they take on in their schools and communities.
“Our long-term goal is to have programs set up at all Title I schools within the next five years, along with programs at non-Title I schools,” Jaskiewicz shared. “Once we are established here in the Lowcountry, we plan to go national with Leveling the Fields chapters around the country.”
The programs offered by Leveling the Fields include:
● 12-week Sports Empowerment Program
● Supplemental Rec Teams Initiative
● Elite Playmakers Program
● Community Sports Hub Program
● Mentorship Program
● Summer Sports Enrichment Camps
● Teen Leagues
“Knowing that we are going to make a difference is the most rewarding part,” Jaskiewicz said. “There are so many girls out there that have a talent that we don’t know about. We want to help each one find their passion, find what they are good at, and help them use that to grow to their full potential.”
Leveling the Fields is currently seeking corporate sponsors, coaches, and steering committee members. Founder Melyssa Jaskiewicz said donations are also instrumental in getting them to their fall start date. 
“With big goals come big expenses, but we know that people will invest in girls and help us grow,” she said.
To support the nonprofit, donate or join the team by visiting levelingthefields.org. They plan to throw a fundraising event in April 2025, but for now, don’t miss their launch party on July 13 at Munkle Brewery.

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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