This post was created in partnership with Citi®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The internet is a buzz with talk of Sochi and the 2014 Winter Olympics! While there has been a bit of controversy surrounding the conditions in Sochi and Russia's stance on equal opportunity and gay rights, I am trying to focus on the positive: our U.S. Olympic team kicking butt and taking names! To that end, Citi has teamed up with nine Team USA Olympians as well as Paralympians to make a $500,000 charitable donation to causes that our athletes are passionate about.
Each Team Citi athlete has teamed up with a specific organization to help, and it's all about opportunity and athleticism, with athletes choosing organizations near and dear to their hearts. Citi's Every Step of the Way® program lets those of us watching and supporting our Olympians at home the opportunity to pick which causes we want to be supported too! How exciting is that? We can choose campaigns to award $5 of the total $500,000.
The 9 Team Citi Athlete Organizations
Alana Nichols - Team USA Paralympic Champion Fund
Billy Demong - Team for Tomorrow
Dan Jensen - The Olympians for Olympians Relief Fund
Erin Hamlin - USA Luge Slider Search
Evan Lysacek - Figure Skating in Harlem
Julie Chu - The USA Hockey Foundation
Picabo Street - The Team USA Stay on the Slopes Initiative
Rico Roman - Operation Comfort
Ted Ligety - Youth Enrichment Services
Out of the nine Olympians involved in Citi's Every Step of the Way program, my favorite is Evan Lysacek, a speed skater. Evan began skating at eight years old, basically just to show up his sister. I had to laugh when I read that - we all know what sibling rivalry is like! Evan wasn't naturally talented and worked incredibly hard to achieve his dreams, making it on the Junior Olympic team in 1996! Not only did he make it to the Olympics, but he won the gold! He made it back to the Olympics in 2010, winning another gold for Team USA.
Evan is proof of how determination can make any dream possible.
Evan knows what you can accomplish with hard work and determination, and that is why he is supporting figure skating in Harlem. I gave my $5 donation to this program and hope that you will too!
You can vote for Citi’s Every Step of the Way® program by visiting their website and learning more about each of the causes.