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LOS ANGELES – Growing up, Cinder Eller Kimbell let comments about her dark skin tone define her. Her name, Cinder Eller, also led to her developing a complex and sometimes asking her parents why they named her that. 

Still, her mother constantly gave her positive affirmations, and in turn, she would later at age 17 become involved with the church and support them way in the same way her mother supported her. 

After a woman thanked her on social media for being a positive role model in her life, Kimbell realized she was meant to become a mentor. 

For more than three decades, she's done just that, and today, it's through The Glass Slipper Foundation, which she founded as way to continue mentoring young people. Those efforts are why she was recently recognized as the Rams' second "pLAymaker" honoree of 2024.

"Receiving the Los Angeles Rams Playmaker award was an incredible PRIVILEGE and honor for me," Kimbell said. "Being recognized as a playmaker by the Rams demonstrates that my hard work and dedication have not gone unnoticed. Looking back on my life, I can proudly say that I strived to make a positive impact, much like Kenny Washington did in his time."

A wife, mother, grandmother and longtime community activist, Kimbell's foundation carries out that very personal mission by mentoring and guiding young individuals and helping them become "dedicated, responsible, educated and motivated individuals."

"Through our program, we aim to empower these youth to succeed despite the challenges they may face," she said. "We provide support for their social, emotional, and cultural well-being, assisting them in navigating the pressures of life and developing positive behaviors towards themselves and others."

Kimbell said that growing up as the daughter of Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Vikings defensive end Carl Eller provided her with a unique perspective on athletes' societal perception and the expectations placed on them as role models. That exposure made her aware of the platform she stood on, how she was viewed, her demeanor, and interactions with others.

"I had to acknowledge the significance of being his daughter and the responsibilities that came with it," she said. "Little did my father know that I was facing challenges stemming from my dark complexion and being named Cinder Eller, which made me a target for teasing and mockery. I struggled to find positivity in these situations and even harbored resentment towards my own name."

However, once she learned what her name meant, it put her on her current path. 

"It wasn't until my father explained the reason behind naming me Cinder - because he envisioned me as a princess and spoke words of leadership over me since birth - that I began to embrace my true identity," Kimbell said. "His revelation inspired me to share my personal struggles and establish The Glass Slipper Foundation, Inc. to ensure that no young woman would have to endure the mental anguish I once inflicted upon myself."

According to her foundation's website, Kimbell was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and raised in Inglewood, California. In addition to her foundation's work, she also has supported the Inglewood Police Department for nearly three decades with her current role as Senior Community Affairs/Homeless Liaison. 

"My connection to Inglewood dates back to 1976 when I first became a part of this community," Kimbell said. "From my early education in elementary school to my high school graduation, I received my schooling in Inglewood. Throughout my life, I have naturally gravitated towards leadership roles and advocating for the well-being of others."

For Kimbell, inspiring change involves setting a positive example for others to follow – being the change you wish to see.

"As time passed, I gradually came to understand my purpose in life," Kimbell said. "I have always harbored a deep-seated aspiration to inspire change, whether through activism, selfless acts of charity, or offering my time and support without any constraints on financial assistance. As a parent, I have a 32-year-old son whom I raised in the heart of the city, and I am proud to see him following the path I have paved. He is a school teacher, coach, mentor, and trainer, mirroring the values I instilled in him. I have taught him the importance of being a role model and encouraged him to seek inspiration from those who motivate him to strive for excellence. By embodying the change we wish to see, we have the power to inspire others to embark on positive transformations in their own lives."

Kimbell taught her son at an early age the slogan of "each one, teach one." Furthermore, the lesson of having to give before you can receive was taught to him by her taking him to Skid Row to pass out his unworn clothes and shoes to less fortunate children. He continues to give on Christmas Day and serve the community where he resides. 

Thus, inspiring change in one's own community starts with that very slogan, or principle, according to Kimbell. 

"We must encourage, influence, motivate, and, most importantly, mentor those who may feel lost or in need of guidance," she said. "By sharing our knowledge, experiences, and support, we can empower individuals within our community to make positive changes and strive for a better future."

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