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INGLEWOOD, Calif. – National College Resource Foundation's Student Athlete Program's philosophy is to engage, empower and educate student athletes, and in doing so, aid them in getting athletic scholarships.

One of the organization's key people facilitating that process is Kysa Washington, granddaughter of Rams legend Kenny Washington. Kysa's work furthering that mission as Student Athlete Program Coordinator is why she was recently recognized as the Rams' first pLAymaker of 2023.

"Oh man, what a pleasant surprise," Washington said. "I just love that they were paying attention. We love what we do at the National College Resources Foundation. We don't necessarily do it for the rewards in this fashion, because every time we help change a student's life, that is the reward for us. But we sure could use this dollar amount right here. It is gonna change a lot of students' lives, so we really appreciate that. And I do feel special. I'm glad that they're paying attention."

The student athlete program falls under the foundation's broader mission of curtailing the dropout rate and increasing the graduation rate amongst underserved and underrepresented youth, plus closing the gap in the digital divide and the gap that is fostering you disparities.

"So we do quite a lot," she said. "My particular department is the Student Athlete Program, but we also have our internships and careers, and the Movement Program, which is our enrichment program. And then we have a Latino College Expo, a S.T.E.A.M. College Expo, and our longest flagship that we've had is our Black College Expo."

According to the NCRF's website, its Latino College Expo and Black College Expo have aided more than 500,000 students get into higher education and secure more than $1 billion in grants and scholarships. The NCRF also services more than 200,000 students annually nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Movement Enrichment Program works to address those aforementioned disparities in the educational system, workforce and economic deficiencies.

As for the SAP, it annually hosts sports combines, showcases and skills camps for a variety of sports, as well as Historically Black Colleges and Universities Showcases. It has helped facilitate more than 1,500 scholarship offers to athletes.


Concurrently, this connects with how Washington defines inspire change.

"Inspire change means so much, but it's right there in the title," Washington said. "What we want to do is live our life and to serve and to be of service, to inspire other people to change within our actions. So the most beautiful thing you can do is to serve and to show action. So that's exactly what inspire change means to me. When somebody is doing the work and putting it into action, that's inspiring change."

And when it comes to inspiring change in our own communities, Washington points to actions like the support shown on Feb. 15 for the premiere of Kingfish: The Story of Kenny Washington at The Miracle Theater in Inglewood.

"Continue doing what you're doing, coming out and being a part of these special events such as the Kenny Washington event tonight," Washington said. "Showing out in Black History Month the support that you do have for the community. And making sure that everything on the field and off the field is equitable for players and for families."

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