Dig It

Through the Side-Out Foundation and its charitable events, student athletes learn that working hard for a good cause always pays off in the end.

“When we inspire students to expand their knowledge and to recognize the importance of community, we are successful,” says Rick Dunetz, executive director of The Side-Out Foundation, who cannot hide his pride when asked about the students who participated in the Side-Out Foundation’s Ambassador Program (SOAP).

Launched in 2011, SOAP was created to recognize those students who involve their schools and communities in the planning and execution of breast cancer awareness and fundraising events, and who are dedicated to educating themselves and others about the disease. The program offers scholarships, recognition for community service, and three Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Awards. The awards were established in memory of Gloria Dunetz, the inspiration behind The Side-Out Foundation, and the fund is known as the Gloria Dunetz Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“Side-Out’s goal is not only to fund clinical trials and programs for breast cancer patients, but also to encourage our youth to take an active role in their community. The SOAP winners embraced the challenges of fundraising, event planning, marketing, and educating. Their efforts remind all of us at Side-Out that there are triumphs beyond that of curing cancer,” says Dunetz. “While we continue to work toward that ultimate goal, we can celebrate the smaller triumphs along the way. Thank you to all the SOAP winners for bringing energy to the cause and passion for the cure.”

Eleven students nationwide earned awards through SOAP in 2012. Kayla Anghinetti earned a scholarship for her efforts at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Mass. Her essay exemplifies the pride players have in the sport of volleyball, and what it means to take action in the community.

SOAP Essay
By Kayla Anghinetti

One of my most vivid memories is a phone call I received back in 8th grade. It was a cold Friday night; I assumed my best friend was calling about a sleepover or a trip to the movie theater. I answered the phone and heard her voice quivering. That day, my best friend’s mother, my “second mom,” was diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost three years later, news came from the hospital. In January 2011 this strong, beautiful mother, sister, and wife was cancer free. This year, she attended Dig Pink at Bishop Feehan High School and since then has told me again and again that she was awed. As a patient and survivor, she found our fundraiser inspiring. Knowing her strength and fearlessness, the weight of her words are incredibly strong. To know that the effort I put into Dig Pink has had such an impact on others, in turn, has had an impact on me.

I’ve played volleyball at Bishop Feehan High School for the past four years and was always involved in the breast cancer awareness game held each October. As a senior this year, I chose to lead the entire program; I would be responsible for bake sales, poster making, fundraising, t-shirt sales, and, a new aspect of our event this year, a student tournament. I gathered the 42 girls in the volleyball program and coordinated the creating of posters and education of people throughout the school and local community, a part of the event that took center stage this year. Another of my main goals in leading Dig Pink was to show loving support to those in the community who have been affected in any way by the disease. To me, Dig Pink is a way to show all that attend, whether they are friends or family of a breast cancer patient, or even patients themselves, that they are not alone. Awareness is synonymous with knowing; knowing about the disease, knowing how it affects lives, and knowing that in this great big world, help, support, and compassion are always close by.

From my year of experience with Dig Pink I have learned that a sense of purpose and determination can take you anywhere. For months I worked hard talking to administrators at school, speaking with my coaches, and organizing the student game. My time outside of school and volleyball was spent planning, working to make the event a complete success. Though nerves were high on the day of the game hoping everything would go as planned, to see the stands full of people dressed head to toe in pink was both unbelievable and rewarding. Even our rival volleyball team joined us that night to help our fundraiser in any way they could.

On October 25 I learned that hard work, especially for a good cause, always pays off. I hope I set an example for the younger girls on my volleyball team and inspired them to keep the tradition strong in years to come. If I could give the girls I led any piece of advice or knowledge, I would tell them that their ambition and leadership has the power to change someone’s life. No matter how big or small the contribution, giving can make a world of a difference.

The 2013 program is currently accepting scholarship applications and offers additional awards for club teams through the Side-Out/JVA National Dig Pink® Awards. To learn more about the program visit side-out.org/ambassador.

2012 SOAP Award Winners
Congratulations to all the winners and everyone who made a difference in their community over the last year.

Scholarship Awards

Emma Larson
Miller Place High School
Miller Place, N.Y.

Gabrielle Pe
Ocean Lakes High School
Virginia Beach, Va.

Kayla Anghinetti
Bishop Feehan High School
Attleboro, Mass.

Sarah Klahn
Creighton University
Omaha, Neb.
Madison Purnell
Adrian High School
Adrian, Ore.

Paige Baker
La Costa Canyon High School
Carlsbad, Calif.

Rachel Metz
Iroquois High School
Elma, N.Y.

Samantha Brader
Iroquois High School
Elma, N.Y.
Katie Everts
Grand Ledge High School
Grand Ledge, Mich.

Heidi Grammerstorf
Harborfields High School
Greenlawn, N.Y.
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Community Service Awards

Gabrielle Pe
Ocean Lakes High School
Virginia Beach, Va.

Genevie Ramirez
Santa Clara High School
Santa Clara, Calif.

Katie Everts
Grand Ledge High School
Grand Ledge, Mich.
Madison Purnell
Adrian High School
Adrian, Ore.

Paige Baker
La Costa Canyon High School
Carlsbad, Calif.

Samantha Brader
Iroquois High School
Elma, N.Y.
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Side-Out/AVCA National Dig Pink® Awards

Emma Larson
Miller Place High School
Miller Place, N.Y.

Gabrielle Pe
Ocean Lakes High School
Virginia Beach, Va.

Sarah Klahn
Creighton University
Omaha, Neb.

Originally published in March/April 2013

1 Comment

Mar 01, 2013 at 03:20PM digpink

Thank you for highlighting the accomplishments of these wonderful young women! We are so proud of them.

Julie and everyone at The Side-Out Foundation

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