“Our program teaches [kids] that it’s a good thing to sacrifice and serve people who don’t have as much as you do or aren’t as blessed as you are in life. What we have in our small community is a generation of kids who are growing up who see no reason why their special-needs friends shouldn’t go along with them. They don’t see life as being ‘normal’ unless special-needs people are involved”
– Russ Ewell
Russ Ewell, a minister at the Bay Area Christian Church, founded E-Soccer in April 2000 so his two sons would be able to participate in sports regardless of their special needs. In 2007, he was honored with the Jefferson Award and highlighted in the San Francisco Chronicle, which is given to individuals who make a positive difference in their community. When the program started with only a handful of kids and coaches, there was no indication how much impact it would eventually have on families in the Bay Area and around the world. E-Soccer has grown into a program which leads the way through inclusion and acceptance. It is for his vision and compassion that Russ has been commended with this award.