It wasn't so long ago that I awoke one Saturday morning with the idea that Hannah needed to play soccer. With her love of the outdoors, running and being around her friends this seemed like a natural progression. But we weren't ready to push her into a typical soccer game as that was (is) beyond her abilities and mindset. Hannah is autistic and her needs and challenges just wouldn't fit into the typical scene at this date and time. But I would change that....
When I awoke on that particular day I had a clear vision about putting together an autistic/special needs soccer team. http://shapingherworldwith-autism.weebly.com/our-story.html
With many calls and fantastic people along the way I came in contact with the Novato Youth's Soccer President Tony. With his help he found me some field space in Novato and time to get the game and team started. I will forever be grateful for his kindness and willingness to support and help bring my idea to light.
In a matter of weeks I had a group of 10 children, equipment and field time. For 5 weeks we had use of a local Novato field at Lynwood elementary school. There we started the program for our 3 to 6 year olds, with my husband John as the coach and our high school daughter Abbi as assistant and companion to the kids. (Abbi's best friend Ashley in tow as well as we needed a further assistant and companion to support the team).
We had a lot of fun promoting acceptance, team work , listening skills and respect for individual differences.
With the enthusiasm of the children's parents the kids played to their abilities and challenged us to keep them busy.
With the 5 weeks over I started to look further to find us a more permanent spot, as field time in most Marin cities is at a premium it was a challenge. After speaking with Janet Miller from PAASS she put me in touch with Frank Bonardi. Let me just say that Frank has been the "rock star" to my dream. With out even meeting me he gave me every opportunity to discuss and inform him of our goals. He listened, encouraged , gave wisdom and then most importantly he put me in touch with the director of the Corte Madera parks and recreation center , Mario Fiorentini. After a few emails and a brief meeting we not only have field space but a clear direction and support from the city of Corte Madera. My gratitude runs deep for these wonderful men. They were not only completely helpful but also saw the vision in what I was (am) trying to create and accomplish and with their help this dream has come to fruition.
As I write this I am also very touched and want to thank my "pilot program" parents for signing their children up and believing that 2 parents with no real soccer experience could make it happen. Thank you all for believing and bringing your kids every week giving us the opportunity to be part of their precious lives. Without your kids there would be no team .Many friendships have formed and a much needed supportive community is being built. My heart is over joyed!!
I look forward to the future and helping many children find their way through soccer.
Lynn, John, Abbi
and "all for you", Hannah