KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children across the Kansas City metro are invited to join the S.T.A.R.S. It’s a new soccer team focused on inclusivity and a local family is leading the charge.
The Kansas City Scott Gallagher Club S.T.A.R.S. Program is getting the ball rolling and in the goal, for kids who have special needs.
Jessica Lamb and husband Adam founded S.T.A.R.S. It stands for success through Adaptive Recreational soccer.
She’s an occupational therapist and he’s a soccer coach.
“We merged our two passions together,” Lamb said. “So that people in the community have their kids to go and participate as well. There’s nothing really like it.”
They designed the seven-week program to hit the mark on developing skills that can help kids grow and learn, while having fun.
It’s open to kids from pre-K through high school seniors.
Lamb’s son Oliver has autism. He’s the inspiration pushing the program forward. They hope to turn it into a league.
Right now, Lamb said they have six head coaches and six assistant coaches. There are also 40 volunteers set to take the field.
“We have some behavior therapists, teachers, OTs, PTs, some with speech backgrounds who are our assistants who will help our head coaches,” Lamb said.
More than 30 kids signed up.
Alli Kisner’s 7-year-old twins are playing.
“If they didn’t start this program, they would be sitting on the sideline,” Kisner said. “So, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to be on the field playing in a safe environment.”
Hailee and Hudson were diagnosed with rare genetic syndromes. Over the years, they’ve tackled feeding tubes and brain surgeries – Kisner calls this program a blessing.
“So, to watch them run and play and interact means so much,” Kisner said, “because kicking the ball is something that we didn’t know if they would be able to do. Walking and talking is still a struggle. So, to watch them overcome that is huge.”
Lamb said they’ll coach based on the ability of the child, forming a community for the kids and the parents.
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“I don’t want my son growing up feeling isolated,” Lamb. “When like I said, he has so many things he can do, superpowers we tell him, that others may not, and to see him bond in the way he’s bonding, with others it’s amazing.”
The S.T.A.R.S. Program starts Saturday. It’s a seven-week program, excluding Easter weekend.