Job and Jana Lara literally began the Nu Breed Volleyball program out of trash. In just several years what has risen up is a successful, competitive volleyball program that while reaching out to all young female athletes, has reached out to those who otherwise may have never had the chance to compete at such a high level.

ESPN took notice of the Nu Breed Volleyball program, which is now being featured in the documentary “Our America: Fifty50.” The documentary is part of ESPN+Fifty50, a platform ESPN launched in honor of the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which requires educational institutions that receive federal funds to provide the same opportunities for females and males. Title IX paved the way for the growth of female sports in the last 50 years.

ESPN bills Our America: Fifty50 as “A collection of inspiring athletes from historically marginalized communities across the country, playing sports through the support of organizations working to level the playing field.”

The documentary has been airing since last month and can be seen through Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku.

Nu Breed Volleyball is one of several segments featured in the documentary hosted by singer-actress Sofia Carlson. The documentary focuses on Nu Breed's players from the Tule River Reservation and those who have ties to the Tule River Tribe.

Nu Breed Volleyball began with 17 players and no equipment in 2018 but has already grown into a program with more than 100 players. Job said he found nets in the trash for the program and the program still uses them. He said the nets were torn but the program continues to use them so the program remembers where it has come from.

Cousins Samirah Gibson Nieto and Aliya Gibson, both Tule River Tribe members, were among those featured in the documentary. Samirah lives on the Tule River Reservation while Aliya's family lives in Porterville.

The documentary points out many of the players who live on the reservation travel more than an hour to practice at Lindsay High School.

Job said players come from the reservation to Lindsay twice or three times a week. “That's a huge commitment,” he said. “They are very competitive. They do really well across the state.”

The club has also competed in Reno and Las Vegas and Job said the plans are for the club to go to Hawaii next year.

"Life without volleyball would be crazy. Life without sports — even crazier," Aliya says in the documentary. Both Aliya and Samirah are Porterville High sophomores.

Samirah said in the documentary NU Breed is “definitely a different atmosphere. “It is a lot more competitive.

“NU Breed is a very good place to be ... because they teach you, and you come together as family. It's like a little community."

Aliya, a member of the Tule River's Yokut tribe, said in the documentary her community keeps culture and traditions alive, like practicing their native language and maintaining life on the reservation.

"I would describe the reservation as freeing. You're surrounded by nature, and it's really beautiful," she said.

Samirah's and Aliya's cousins, Ramona Iannaeo and Grace Clower, are also NU Breed volleyball players.

"I live about an hour away from where we practice, so it's a long drive and a commute, but we're going to make do with it because I want to play," Ramona said in the documentary.

Grace is the setter, Aliya is a middle blocker and Ramona is an outside hitter. “Whenever we need points, I can rely on them,” Grace said.

All of the players said they were thankful for Title IX. “Title IX means opportunities and a whoe new world and being able to do stuff that I know no girl had been able to do before,” said Samirah in the documentary. “I can play and do things that they weren't able to do, and so I'm like doing it for them.”

Job and Samirah said the country must continue to talk about equality and social justice. Job pointed to two ways in which youth are lost in an interview on Friday.

He said first youth are lost in society. He said second youth are lost because they can't tell their story. “We can't fail them,” he said. “That's very important to me that we not fail them, to let them tell their stories. That's all they know.”

Job said he was surprised when ESPN approached him about doing a story on his program. “I guess I didn't think it was something they wanted to talk about,” he said.

He added the producers asked him if he wanted to be present when the players were interviewed and he said no. “I just wanted them to tell their story,” Lara said. “They went with it.”

Lara added he was satisfied with the program's segment featured in the documentary. “Overall it was good balanced reporting and allowed the girls to have a voice about volleyball and about Title IX, keeping sports in the conversation.”

He also said, “our program reflects the community.”

TRYOUTS

Nu Breed will hold tryouts for girls ages 5-18 on July 30 at Lindsay High. “We have a team for everyone,” Job said.

For details and to register for tryouts, visit www.nubgreedvbc.org For more information call Job, 562-413-3444 or Jana, 562-413-5695

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