Canadian goalkeeper is UNICEF's first professional female footballer
TORONTO, March 26, 2013 /CNW/ - UNICEF Canada is pleased to announce
Karina LeBlanc, goalkeeper for the Canadian women's soccer team and
Olympic bronze medalist at the 2012 London games as its newest
Karina is the longest-serving player in Canadian soccer history
representing Canada for more than 15 years including at two Olympic
Games, three Pan American Games and four FIFA Women's World Cups.
Karina helped lead Canada to its historic bronze medal win in the 2012
London Olympic Games.
Using her popularity, leadership and passion to inspire young people to
dream big, Karina will raise support for UNICEF's work improving the
lives of girls around the world through soccer as its newest
"We are delighted Karina is lending her inspirational voice to our work
harnessing the power of sport to improve the lives of girls and boys,"
says UNICEF Canada's President and CEO David Morley. "Karina's dynamic
personality and undivided commitment to improving the lives of children
will bring new energy to UNICEF's work here in Canada. I am very
pleased to welcome her to the UNICEF family."
Karina first teamed up with UNICEF Canada on a trip to Honduras earlier
this year to visit its Football for Life program.
Honduras has one of the highest murder rates in the world. Every two
days a child is murdered which is a rate almost 60 times higher than in
Canada. Poverty rates are also high - one in four children lives on
less than $1.25 a day and nearly a quarter of all children never
complete primary school.
UNICEF's Football for Life program ensures access to education and vital health care to more than
40,000 girls and boys through sport. It also protects children from
violence and abuse, promotes gender equality, educates young people on
preventing HIV and teen pregnancy and decreases school dropout rates.
While in Honduras Karina led a number of soccer clinics for girls
sharing her skills with hundreds of young participants. She also led
candid conversations with children and heard about the challenges they
face growing up in poverty and surrounded by deadly violence.
"Traveling with UNICEF was incredibly rewarding. It was inspiring to
connect with girls who face so many challenges but are using soccer to
beat the odds and reach their goals. I told these children that soccer
has also given me many opportunities and that they should dream big and
never give up," says Karina.
Since returning to Canada Karina has set up a new Dreams for Life fund where Canadians interested in supporting UNICEF's programs using
soccer to save lives and encourage gender equity, like Football for Life in Honduras, can contribute by visiting www.unicef.ca
"I have always known that UNICEF is the world's leader in protecting
children and ensuring children have access to basics like health care,
education and clean water. Seeing this first-hand in Honduras
strengthened my belief in UNICEF's vital work. I am so pleased to be
part of this organization and look forward to meeting more children
UNICEF reaches as its newest ambassador."
UNICEF uses the power of sport to improve children's lives around the
world. It also has a long history of partnering with the world's
leading sports organizations and events including the International
Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Cricket Council (ICC),
Special Olympics International, and FIFA - the Federation
Internationale de Football Association.
Today Karina joins some of the world's most esteemed athletes that use
their talents, fame and dedication to raise awareness, fundraise and
advocate for children around the world as UNICEF ambassadors.
Join us online and on social media
@karinaleblanc and @UNICEFLive
UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian
organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families,
doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children
with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food
security, education, emergency relief and more.
UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children
regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are
active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our
determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too
far to go to help a child survive.
Image with caption: "UNICEF Canada ambassador and Olympic bronze medalist Karina LeBlanc with participants of UNICEF's "Football for Life" program in Honduras. The program helps decrease drop-out rates and promotes healthy lifestyles for 40,000 vulnerable children across the country. (CNW Group/UNICEF Canada)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130326_C8096_PHOTO_EN_24784.jpg
SOURCE: UNICEF Canada
For further information:
For more information to arrange an interview or for b-roll contact:
Melanie Sharpe UNICEF Canada 416-482-6552 ext. 8892 cell: 416-871-7345 firstname.lastname@example.org