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Sports figures influence kids in ways few others can.
Well aware of that is Angela Taylor, the former general manager of the WNBA's Washington Mystics.
Taylor, who won two NCAA titles at Stanford, cofounded CHANCE -- Create Hope & Access for our Nation's Children through Education -- with former volleyball Olympian Beverly Oden and former basketball star Dawn Staley.
"As athletes, education has shown us the world. It's exposed us to what the world has to offer," Taylor said. "We just figured we had a unique platform that we could give back to kids who might not have had the same access to resources."
CHANCE began in 2006 after Taylor was inspired by a New York Times article about vast differences in the quality of education and access -- or, more strikingly, lack thereof -- to resources available to some high school seniors. CHANCE seminars inform students and parents about how kids can best progress in education, cultivating what Taylor calls the Triangle of Success: the relationship between family, schools and communities. For the 2010-2011 schoolyear, CHANCE seminars will reach about 1,500 students nationwide.
"It's truly gratifying to use the platform we've received through sports to impact the lives of children around the county," Taylor said. "We're glad that we can do our part, and hopefully, if we can just help one kid out, then we accomplish our goal."