DSG Fellow Jennifer Ayers continues to hit the right notes for mental health awareness

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Submitted by DICK . sporting goods

Candice Jennifer

Originally published on DICK’S Sporting Goods Sideline Report

Jennifer Ayers has a story to tell.

Before we get into it, you want everyone to know something: All of our mental health stories, whether they’re shown on the big screen through a Hollywood movie or discussed within a small circle of our loved ones, are just as important and worth telling.

It is simply one of the many stories that can bring us together.

Jennifer, who drives golf at DICK’S Shop in Newnan, Georgia, experienced the power of telling your story. She is the sister of Nathaniel Ayers, whose personal story first became famous on the pages of the Los Angeles Times before it was made into a major movie.soloistStarring Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx as Nathaniel. A talented musician trained at the famous Juilliard School, Nathaniel has been affected by schizophrenia for most of his life. He was homeless, living in an area known as “snowboarding” in Los Angeles, when he came across one Reporters Nathaniel and forever changed their lives, as well as Jennifer, and the meeting led to the release of the book and movie “The Soloist” in 2009.

“Fortunately, my brother is still alive and we have seen change and improvement over the years,” Jennifer said. “He still has a mental health condition, so I continue to have discussions in hopes of a better understanding from our community.”

Jennifer has been tireless in her efforts to ensure that the hype surrounding the “soloist” was not an escalation of her mental health advocate. Since the movie was first shown, the non-profit organization has created Ayers Friends Foundation To support her work she also wrote the book, “Hear the Music: Memoirs from a Soloist’s SisterJennifer has appeared as a guest speaker at numerous engagements, including events for her DICK teammates. On September 17, she will combine her passion for golf with mental health awareness by hosting the Opening Ceremony Listen to golf tournament music in Hampton Georgia, which DICK’S is proud to sponsor.

Her efforts did not go unnoticed.

“Every time I went out to give a presentation, I always had someone come up to me to say ‘thank you’ and then share their own story,” Jennifer said. “It’s so powerful to see the relief in the face of someone who shares, perhaps for the first time, what they’ve been through.”

The experience of shooting fame while showing such a personal family story in movie theaters was a whirlwind for the Ayers family. They also saw it as an opportunity to highlight the topic of mental health awareness and the importance of encouraging an open and honest society that empathizes with the role that mental health plays in many lives.

She points out that her family was really lucky that a one in a million chance led to Hollywood – and that their circumstances were far from normal. That is why she has dedicated herself to seeking help for those who need it, which is also a core value of our company. DICK’S is proud to offer our teammates additional resources that go above and beyond to help meet mental health needs. Unique offerings such as our Employee Assistance Program provide mental health services to all team members, regardless of status. Jennifer noted that these types of programs are vital and can have a huge impact.

As for Jennifer and Nathaniel, they still communicate regularly via phone calls and more recently video calls, which is a big step for Nathaniel. Jennifer is looking forward to visiting her brother in California soon. Like many other people who have a loved one with a mental health condition, she will always take care of her brother. This has its challenges. When Nathaniel first moved to California, Jennifer and her family didn’t know and didn’t find out where he was for years. When you visit, there are times you’ll wait days until he’s ready to see her. It took a while, but she grew to understand and said, “It’s just part of the process.” It may be tough, but their bond is unbreakable and they have also shared countless wonderful moments.

Jennifer and her family will always relate to the story told in “The Soloist” but her ongoing work lets people know they are not alone on their own journeys.

To learn more about our company’s commitments and efforts, see our recent launch DE&I . website

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DICK . sporting goods

DICK . sporting goods

Founded in 1948, DICK’S Sporting Goods is a leading multi-channel retail sporting goods company offering a diverse range of original, high-quality sports equipment, apparel, footwear and accessories. As of October 30, 2021, the company operated 734 DICK’S sporting goods locations across the United States, serving and inspiring athletes and outdoor enthusiasts to achieve their best through a group of dedicated colleagues, in-store services and a unique specialty store. – Stores dedicated to team sports, sports apparel, golf, outdoor activities, fitness and footwear.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, DICK’S owns and operates the Golf Galaxy, Field & Stream, and Public Lands specialty stores, as well as GameChanger, a youth sports mobile app for scheduling, communication, saving live scores, and video streaming. DICK’S offers its products through a dynamic e-commerce platform that integrates with its store network and provides athletes with the convenience and experience of a 24-hour storefront.

For more information, visit the Investor Relations page at dicks.com.

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