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ELLA donates new equipment to Hollywood High softball program

On March 3 the foundation known as “Empowering Leadership in Latina Athletes” (ELLA) donated $5,000 worth of gear — such as new cleats, balls and bats — to the athletic department at Hollywood High School and their softball program.

ELLA is a non-profit organization born in Burbank that helps young female athletes of Hispanic/Latina descent achieve their goal to attend college to help offset costs for families that are economically disadvantaged that includes charitable purposes. The program also helps those to empower leadership and discipline amongst the athletes that would lead to a positive life outcome and help offset costs to attend college athletic interviews.

The founder of the foundation, Lilly Travieso, was inspired to help people who had a similar upbringing to her. As a young girl growing up as a proud Latina, Travieso fell in love with softball. While she had several opportunities while playing softball, such as traveling to Cuba to participate in a cultural exchange program, she also noticed the disparities that competition created for minorities and women.

“As I began to explore competitive softball and explore my college options, this softball relationship made me realize the harsh inequalities that exists in the softball community for Latina Athletes,” Travieso said. “For instance, to play competitively and gain exposure to universities as a softball player, you must be in a top travel team, attend college camps, get specialized training, have a professional recruitment video, travel to unofficial visits, take college preparatory courses, participate in showcase tournaments throughout the country, own expensive equipment and uniforms, which all require a large sum of money.”

This personal experience was the backbone for ELLA, and this past week she continued to pursue the mission of creating equal opportunity among softball with their donation to Hollywood High. The ELLA foundation works on developing leadership in Latina athletes through education, training, mentorship, and advocacy in the sports community, and their vision is to develop strong Latina Leaders that will positively impact their communities while establishing their own legacy.

“Through my relationship with softball, I have learned about other cultures, met many people from different walks of life and traveled to other countries,” Travieso said. “This has helped me embrace and learn from others, while being inclusive of all cultural backgrounds and ethnicities. And we’re inspired to help level the plane field and create opportunities for young female Latina athletes.”

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