By: Brandi LeCompte
New Orleans native and resident, Jennifer Hale is an award-winning journalist, who covers NFL and NBA games for FOX Sports. Hale has had the pleasure of interviewing the biggest names in the leagues. Hale also uses her many talents to host events and emcee charity functions. She is also a spokesperson for Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and an ambassador for Chronos Body Health and Wellness.
Louisiana’s Health & Fitness readers enjoy Hale’s monthly fitness column where she provides insights, not only on her fitness routine, but also those of many fitness professionals. Hale has always led an active lifestyle. “As a kid, I dreamed of being an Olympic gymnast, but a lack of talent ended that idea. Thankfully, I was able to parlay what I’d learned in gymnastics into cheerleading and received an athletic scholarship to LSU to supplement my academic scholarship,” says Hale.
Hale has shared her story of being diagnosed with a heart condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. Her father died from cardiomyopathy while she was in high school. She also lost her uncle and grandfather to this disease. “Because I was a non-smoking female who exercised and didn’t eat red meat, I naively thought I was exempt from heart trouble,” explains Hale. “I was told I either had five years to live or would need a heart transplant. God had a different plan and thankfully medication remodeled my heart. I’m back to my normal self, exercising and working.” Hale speaks across the country about the importance of heart health and knowing your family’s medical history.
Hale began her career as a political and investigative reporter/anchor. Making the change from hard news to sports reporter left Hale questioning her decisions regarding how to dress and act in her new role, as well as how to handle conflicts that arose in the workplace like sexual harassment. “I struggled to find answers, and to this day, I am eternally grateful to the mentors who counseled me, both female and male. I started Sideline Pass because I wanted to send that knowledge, support and confidence down the ladder,” explains Hale. Sideline Pass is a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and empowering young women.
“I started thinking that if I, as an adult, was struggling with these topics, what do younger girls do in this social media, airbrushed world? I thought it would be phenomenal if we could start honestly talking about what girl power should mean, how to have grace under pressure, how to handle uncomfortable situations at work and school. I also really worried – and still do – that we as a society are not placing enough emphasis on the need for young women to be educated, intelligent, mentally tough and compassionate,” says Hale. In 2015, she set out to make a difference in the lives of young women and founded Sideline Pass. Hale credits the Son of a Saint organization as a tremendous inspiration. Sonny Lee, son of Bivian Lee, Jr., a defensive back for the New Orleans Saints from 1971 to 1975, founded Son of a Saint to mentor fatherless boys in honor of his father. Hale could see the organization was having a huge impact on young boys’ lives and she wanted to do the same for the young girls of the New Orleans community.
Sideline Pass has three outreach goals:
• To introduce young females to adult female mentors in the business and sports worlds to inspire and educate
• To equip underprivileged female athletes in need with the necessary supplies and equipment to participate in sports, as well as to expose them to events and experiences they might otherwise miss
• To provide resources such as scholarships and holiday gifts for children living in state care and shelters
Hale recognizes she was fortunate to have so many friends who wanted to become mentors for Sideline Pass. “We’ve found there’s a tremendous need for female mentors, especially for young women living in disadvantaged situations or in the state’s care,” says Hale.
• Each September, Sideline Pass holds a back-to-school shopping trip to equip under-privileged female athletes with the gear needed to participate in school sports.
• In November and December, a Holiday Toy Drive is held for boys and girls living in state care or shelters.
• A scholarship soiree is held to provide a high school scholarship to an academically deserving but financially challenged young woman from New Orleans.
• In the spring, girls participate in a shopping trip for prom and graduation dresses for scholarship recipients and those living in state care.
Manning Passing Academy
“Sideline Pass is thrilled to partner with the Manning family and the Manning Passing Academy! We’ll be hosting a Ladies Football Clinic to kick-start the traditional Passing Academy,” says Hale. This event will offer a great opportunity to learn about football and provide ladies a fun and bonding experience. Sideline Pass will also have amazing raffle items that will benefit the back-to-school shopping trip. This year’s raffle items include: an NFL on Fox swag package valued at $250, a Reagan Charleston necklace, a Tour Cycling Studio gift bag with free classes and swag, a signed Denver Broncos jersey by Peyton Manning, a signed New York Giants jersey by Eli Manning and footballs signed by Peyton, Eli and Archie. The Clinic is June 26, 2019, at Thibodaux Regional’s new state-of-the-art Wellness Center. We’d love for everyone to come join us!” says Hale.
“Girl Power is our Passion”
Sideline Pass promotes “girl power” with messages that encourage a good work ethic, living by principles, making intelligent decisions, surrounding yourself with smart and loving friends. “That’s what helps you get somewhere,” says Hale.
“Sideline Pass has become my “why” in life. It keeps everything in perspective. We’re supposed to be the ones inspiring and empowering the next generation, but I end up drawing so much passion and drive from working with our girls, as well as the female mentors that have gotten involved with Sideline Pass. We have so many girl bosses: smart, driven women who are both accomplished and loving at the same time. Sideline Pass has been a huge blessing to me!” says Hale.
For more information on Sideline Pass, please visit http://www.sidelinepass.org and you can also email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Find them on Facebook (@SidelinePasswithJenniferHale), Twitter (@Sideline_Pass) and Instagram (@sideline_pass).