Give in to Hope Day 22: Josh Kaplan

With weather this nice, lots of us have been spending time outdoors and being active. Josh Kaplan was a kid who loved being outside, especially when he was playing soccer, his favorite sport. As a kid, Josh was left out a lot, because he had a stutter, and kids sometimes made fun of how he talked. But at soccer–he felt just like everyone else! At his practices, Josh met one of the player’s younger brothers, a boy with Down Syndrome who loved soccer too, but never played, because there wasn’t a team he could join. Josh knew how it felt to be left out, and he wanted all kids to have the opportunity to play soccer, whether they were doing it competitively or just for fun–having different abilities shouldn’t keep them out of the game.  Josh founded a nonprofit called GOALS where soccer players with and without disabilities are paired together on teams, not only to help one another learn new skills, but also to forge strong friendships. GOALS started as a tiny project, but has now helped over 700 young people get involved in a game they love, and Josh has plans to grow it bigger. He wants everyone to have fun, be active, and make great friends.

To learn more about Josh Kaplan:

What is an activity that you love to do? Do you think there are some people who don’t have the chance to enjoy this same activity? Why might they not have the opportunity? Is there something you can do to help more people have access to an activity that you enjoy?

Closing prayer: Dear God, help us bring people from the sidelines into the game. There is room for everyone. Amen.