Junior Kendall Dudley Wins Award at ESPYS

Sidwell junior Kendall Dudley attended the 2022 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards, commonly known as the ESPYS, on July 20. At the event, Dudley received the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Honoree Award, which honors collegiate and high school students who enhance their communities through the power of sports.

To be considered for the award, student-athletes must complete a lengthy, comprehensive application about their volunteer work. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits sex-based discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal aid, all honorees were female athletes.

Dudley described her initial reaction to her ESPY Award Show invitation as a complete  surprise.

“It’s not every day that you get invited to go to the ESPYS, let alone when everything’s paid for and you get to go to L.A.,” she said.

Dudley was honored for her work with the SportsMom Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting girls in sports and providing them with opportunities for success. The foundation has a mentorship program that connects athletes of varying ages to “build relationships, grow female involvement in sports and help curate a larger bond with our community,” Dudley explained.

The charity also raises money for scholarship funds that provide female athletes with money for equipment, club sport fees and other necessities.Dudley serves as the Head Mentor for the foundation.

“I give any information to the girls that they may need, answer any questions they may have, help make athlete pairings, help with the meetings between mentors and mentees and organize everything for the mentorship program,” she explained.

Although Dudley began volunteering with the SportsMom Foundation in high school, her passion for helping youth athletes in the community began much earlier.

In 2019, she created the Game Grow-Hers app with fellow Sidwell junior Gianna Katsock, which aimed to increase female involvement in sports in the Washington area.

In 2020, Dudley also participated in the Jr. NBA Court of Leaders Program, in which she created, participated in and shared programming focused on expanding opportunities for student athletes.

Throughout the year, Dudley also assists in the training and development of young athletes in the local area.

“I’ve always been one to help out in local basketball camps or help train young athletes. I want to give the kids in our area a source their age to train them,” she said.

Being named a Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award Honoree was fulfilling for Dudley, who plans to continue her work with the SportsMom Foundation to reach and encourage more people.

“It’s good to show these young kids what all this work will lead up to if you continue to dream, if you continue to reach out to people, if you continue to apply for these types of awards,” she said.

Dudley also touched on the power of social media.

“I like to be vocal and active on social media so that other young athletes can see representation,” she said.

Passionate about providing young athletes with resources and representation, she hopes to use her social media platform for good. Dudley also dreams of starting her own foundation or youth basketball camp in the future, with the goal of providing an equal playing field for young athletes.

“We have so many talented athletes in this area who could be doing more,” Dudley said. “I’m trying to find a way to give back to the youth because they are the future,” she added.