Sports Backers Blog

Sports Backers' and Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Active Living Leadership ALL Stars program celebrates kick off

Ten-month long program will offer education, mentorship, and more to 20 ALL Star student athletes


RICHMOND, VA – Sports Backers and the Richmond Times-Dispatch have worked together for over 30 years to recognize the region’s most active and accomplished student athletes. The Scholar-Athlete Awards Program has awarded over $1.4 million to area students since it began in 1992. When thinking about the future of the program both Sports Backers and the RTD wanted to change the program structure to create impactful, lasting relationships with the student athletes. The Active Living Leadership ALL Stars program will provide education, hands-on experiences, and mentorship to a cohort of 20 ALL Star Student-Athletes through a series of in-person and virtual learning opportunities over the course of 10 months. The program is designed to empower these future leaders so they can serve as ambassadors for the active lifestyle.

ALL Stars are all smiles on their first day of the 10-month long program.

These ALL Stars, who were selected from a pool of 140 nominations, will meet for educational opportunities designed to explore what factors contribute to an active community, existing inequities, and how to make a difference in the community. They will experience active living initiatives first-hand through participation and volunteerism with local organizations. Students will work together in small groups with the support of a mentor, many of whom are former Scholar-Athlete scholarship recipients. They will work through curriculum that will feature assigned reading, podcasts, videos, and discussion. All their learning and experiences will culminate in the completion of a Capstone Project that addresses an identified need in the active living community.

“We’re so excited to unveil the new ALL Stars program format and start working with our student athletes,” said Jacki Quinlan, Director for Youth Programs at Sports Backers. “These students are top caliber, and to see what they’re already doing within their communities is inspiring. We can’t wait to elevate their work and set them up with the right tools to continue to positively impact the Richmond region.”

Through participation in the program during their senior year, ALL Stars will earn a $2,500 scholarship. Additional scholarship awards will be available, so there is an opportunity to earn more than $2,500. The program will host five in-person sessions, starting in July 2023 and culminating with a program graduation ceremony in May of 2024. These sessions will cover Active Living 101, Active Living Inequities, Making a Difference Through Advocacy, and Life Beyond Sport. Mentors will host bi-monthly meetings to cover additional learning materials and to provide support to their group of ALL Stars.

Tony Allen, Jayden Sears, and Matthew McGovern working together

Not all instruction will happen in the classroom. One of the biggest benefits of the program is how hands on the ALL Stars will get to be with other organizations throughout the area. Students will have the opportunity to get out and experience active living initiatives first-hand and will be required to volunteer with at least one active living organization. Through the relationships they’ve made in the program students will then partner with an organization to work on a Capstone Project. This project should aim to help an outside organization with a need they’re currently facing that will make their pursuit of active living easier and be beneficial to the community at large.

The program kicked off on July 29 with an orientation followed by a social at the Richmond Flying Squirrels game. For more information about the program please visit For a full list of the ALL Stars selected for this session and their schools, see below.

Kylie Jenkins, Angelica Acosta, and Julia Mann form a crew & get to know one another.


Athlete First Name

Athlete Last Name

School Name

Anthony Allen, Jr. Richmond Community High School & Armstrong High School
Elizabeth/Jadyn Sears Thomas Dale High School
Amirah Washingon Monacan High School
Matthew Mcgovern Thomas Dale High School
Annie Adamson Saint Gertrude High School
Ethan Choe Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School
Declan Keith Trinity episcopal
Lily Ricci Deep Run High School
Angelica Acosta Cristo Rey Richmond High School
Kylie Jenkins Godwin High School
Julia Mann Mill Godwin High School
Alex Percey Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School
Liam Gordon Appomattox Regional Governor’s School
Tucker Washburn Mills E. Godwin
Ellie Wood Douglas Freeman High School
Caroline Wulff St. Catherine’s School
Lauren Blake Maggie L Walker Governor’s School
Jalen Copeland Hanover High School
Breyona Robinson Hermitage High School
Lilly Versen Trinity Episcopal School


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