ESPN nominees for 2024 Sports Humanitarian Awards include Indian-American

Ayanna Shah. PHOTO: X @AyannaShah

An Indian American teen is among the ESPN nominees for the 2024 Sports Humanitarian Awards. Ayanna Shah, whose initiative, Second Serve, has expanded the reach of tennis to underserved youth, was named June 24, among a list of people selected under various award categories.

Shah, a student at Del Norte High School, San Diego, Ca., is one of three individuals in the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award honorees category. The other two are Conor Campbell and Hannah Smith

Now in its 10th year, the Sports Humanitarian Awards sponsored by PENN Entertainment celebrates the impact made by athletes, teams and sports industry professionals using sports to make a difference in their communities and throughout the world, a press release from ESPN said.

Five years ago, Ayanna Shah, along with her sister Amani, founded Second Serve to shatter barriers to entry in sports by redistributing gently used tennis equipment and offering free clinics to under-resourced youth.

In her role as CEO, Ayanna has grown Second Serve’s profile and impact, recruiting 100 new volunteers, confirming 76 new partnerships, and growing to reach 46 states, the ESPN press release noted.

“As a youth-led organization, Ayanna empowers young people to grow into leaders by creating service opportunities,” ESPN said. She has created a team of 220 young leaders between the ages of 12 and 17, each of whom collects equipment and donates to numerous low income communities throughout the United States and around the world. To date, they have distributed over 27,000 pieces of equipment, the press release noted.

The Sports Humanitarian Awards will be presented on Wednesday, July 10, at Citizen News in Hollywood, Calif., as part of ESPYS Week. The awards will be featured in studio programming and during The 2024 ESPYS, which will air live on ABC on July 11 at 8 p.m. ET.

“Sports has the ability to bring people together and drive positive change to make a difference in communities that need it most,” said Kevin Martinez, vice president of ESPN Corporate Citizenship. “ESPN is proud that the Sports Humanitarian Awards will once again recognize athletes and sports figures who are using the power of sports to make a difference in communities across the globe.”



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