Taft women’ basketball locker room to be refurbished with grant

Sophia Tchamkertenian is acquainted with the frustration.

When Tchamkertenian was enjoying junior varsity basketball at Taft, she ready for video games within the college’s basic PE room, as a result of the 25-foot-by-30-foot locker room was reserved for varsity gamers. The JV program wasn’t assigned lockers, so Tchamkertenian and her teammates would stuff their garments into their backpacks and haul them to video games.

“When I moved up [to varsity], it was a huge privilege to even have a space to change,” Tchamkertenian mentioned.

Even on varsity, the workforce was pushed again to the PE room initially of its season till the women’ volleyball workforce completed its season. In the meantime, assistant principal Neezer McNab mentioned, the soccer program was getting a brand new workforce room.

“My teammates and I, we’ve just gotten used to it — not having certain things that [the boys] do,” Tchamkertenian mentioned.

However now they’ll have one thing that the boys have.

On July 29, Voice in Sport, a corporation devoted to elevating girls’s voices, introduced Taft would obtain a Title IX Micro Grant of $40,000 to refurbish the women’ basketball locker room. The college isn’t simply taking the cash and working — the grant is contingent upon Taft engaged on a lot of Title IX-related initiatives to enhance fairness on the college.

“I’m happy that girls will be able to experience that and like feel like they’re important and like they matter just as much as the guys do,” Tchamkertenian mentioned.

Since Voice in Sport was established in 2020, founder Stefanie Strack has spoken to lots of of women at faculties across the nation about their lack of Title IX assets. Taft was chosen for the grant as a result of there have been “several gaps” between the women’ and boys’ applications at Taft, Strack mentioned.

“When young girls don’t have a place to change before practice, can you imagine how uncomfortable that makes you feel?” Strack mentioned.

McNab, Taft’s Title IX coordinator, mentioned building of a brand new soccer workforce room made the Taft women eligible to obtain the grant.

“We were fortunate, because being at a public school, there are only a certain amount of funds that you have allocated,” McNab mentioned.

McNab couldn’t give a timetable for the refurbishment, with the varsity solely just lately receiving the grant.

There’s a bigger, well-laid plan for the general partnership between Taft and Voice in Sport.

Among the many agreements, Taft will host Title IX coaching for the athletic neighborhood, disclose information on participation and income for boys’ and women’ sports activities, and conduct Title IX evaluations earlier than and after the brand new facility is accomplished. McNab additionally talked about individually that she was making an attempt to coach and appeal to extra feminine coaches to the varsity.

“Taft is stepping up and saying, ‘Hey, we want to do better, we want to understand Title IX better, we want our experience to be better for our young girls,’” Strack mentioned. “They don’t have the funds necessarily coming in, and that’s where we have this partnership.”

Most each college that Voice in Sport examined throughout Los Angeles had unequal remedy between boys’ and women’ applications, Strack mentioned. Taft was chosen particularly due to its dedication to motion.

A part of that motion consists of the institution of a Voice in Sport advocate program, a student-run membership that displays the varsity’s progress with Title IX training.

Tchamkertenian finds herself the president of a corporation that two weeks in the past she didn’t know existed. She’s prepared to plan plans for different enhancements if there’s cash left over from the locker room’s renovation.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this before, and I’ve never led a movement of this magnitude,” Tchamkertenian mentioned.

When the 59-year-old McNab grew up, she mentioned, women have been grateful for no matter they got. Strack echoed the sentiment. In the end, the objective of the partnership is to assist feminine athletes like Tchamkertenian really feel worthy of that facility and far more.

“It’s going to empower them, and empower the girls to know they are valued just as much [as boys], and you shouldn’t have to be grateful for that,” McNab mentioned.