BALTIMORE, MD. - University of North Carolina junior Zoe Skinner is the 2013 winner of the Yeardley Reynolds Love (YRL) Unsung Hero Award, the One Love Foundation announced on Thursday. Loyola's Jason Crane won the men's award.
Now in its third year, the award celebrates selfless acts of initiative and commitment performed by Division I lacrosse players. Skinner and Crane are being awarded based on their exceptional dedication, integrity, humility, hard work, community service, leadership, kindness and sportsmanship, traits Yeardley exemplified on-and-off the field.
The YRL Unsung Hero Award winners are chosen from a pool of applicants nominated by either a coach or person associated with Division I lacrosse programs throughout the United States. The award's selection committee highlights their ten finalists (five women, five men), who were announced on May 1, then choose the winners to announce leading up to the culmination of the NCAA lacrosse season. Each winner will receive a silver bowl recognizing their accomplishment, a $250 donation in their name to a charity of their choice, acknowledgment on both the One Love Foundation website (www.JoinOneLove.org) and InsideLacrosse.com, the award's media partner.
Sharon Robinson, Yeardley's cousin and a member of the award's selection committee said, "We are so impressed with both Zoe and Jason and are proud to celebrate the positive influences that each of them have had on their teams, and on the community at large. Like Yeardley, they both epitomize the goodness in collegiate athletics that is sometimes overlooked in our society. They are amazing student-athletes and we salute them for their humble leadership."
A Baltimore, Md., native and junior on the North Carolina's semifinal women's lacrosse team, Zoe leads many community service projects and pushes her teammates behind the scenes. Last summer, she spent time in Vietnam with the Atlantic Coast Conference Student-Athletes Coach for College Teacher program, teaching English and coaching volleyball to fifth grade children in Southern Vietnam. Also serving as the women's lacrosse liaison with Carolina Athletics Outreach, Zoe coordinates the team's volunteer efforts with UNC Hospitals, Murdoch Development Center, New Hope Elementary School, Share Your Christmas Foundation and UNCLaxForKellie. She does the same on the field, tirelessly working behind-the-scenes to improve her teammates in practice.
"I'm thrilled to have Zoe earn this recognition. We do a lot of outreach at Carolina, and more times than not, Zoe is part of the efforts in some way," said Cricket Lane, UNC Assistant Director for Student-Athlete Development. "She's been involved in so many projects, yet she puts her heart into every single one. And in addition to reaching out herself, she's great at getting her teammates and other student-athletes involved and invested, making her impact that much greater. Her enthusiasm is contagious and her positive attitude affects everyone around her. She's a great role model and is very deserving of this honor."
Skinner and her Tar Heel teammates will face Northwestern in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m. in Villanova, Pa.
The One Love Foundation was co-founded by Sharon and Lexie Love in May 2010 to honor their daughter and sister, Yeardley Reynolds Love, a University of Virginia student-athlete who was killed by her ex-boyfriend. The One Love Foundation's primary mission is to end Relationship Violence through education and technology. In September 2012, One Love launched its "Be 1 for Change" campaign to heighten public awareness and perception of the Relationship Violence epidemic in the United States. The organization supports its mission through core values Yeardley exemplified; Education, Service, Kindness, Dedication, Humility and Sportsmanship. For more information, visit www.JoinOneLove.org or follow www.Twitter.com/JoinOneLove.