Those 2,500 girls wearing capes this weekend aren’t superheroes. Well, for a day they will be.
On Sunday, girls soccer players from 80 high schools across the Chicago area will don capes and kick off National Random Acts of Kindness Week with charitable acts throughout their local communities.
Buddy’s HELPERS, the community service arm of the PepsiCo Showdown soccer tournament, has teamed up with its participant schools to make a difference off the field. Among the local teams participating are Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South, Dundee-Crown, Huntley and Jacobs.
“The cool part of this whole thing is it’s like a domino effect,” said D-C senior Sara Kuczynski. “One little thing is going to make someone’s day. It’s cool because all the high school girls are doing this, it’s not just in one area, it’s also happening everywhere else [in the Chicago area].”
The Chargers girls soccer team will visit a retirement home Sunday and stop at a local Jewel to help carry groceries to people’s cars for them.
Teams will take 90 minutes out of their day, the length of a soccer game, to give back to the community in a unique way.
The Crystal Lake South boys soccer team was among the teams that participated in the boys’ version of the event in September. Coach Brian Allen said it was a great bonding opportunity for his team, in addition to a great chance to give back.
“It was a lot of fun for our team,” Allen said. “We thoroughly enjoyed it. The guys really took the opportunity to take an extension beyond the soccer field and realize that high school soccer can be an avenue to make a difference in the lives of people and communities.”
When the boys did it in the fall, all the teams met in downtown Chicago and performed random acts of kindness throughout the city. For the girls this weekend, each team will be doing something in its own community.
Huntley senior Tayah Owens and her family adopted her dog Disney from an animal shelter in Huntley. On Sunday, she and her team will be helping out at a local shelter.
“We’re going to help out with the animals and the people that work there,” Owens said. “We’re helping them out with stuff they can’t do and need help with. We’ll be walking dogs, cleaning windows, playing with the cats and cleaning up after the animals.”
Allen said he thinks it’s important for high school kids to see first-hand that they can make a difference for other people in the community.
“High school kids can do a lot more than they often give themselves credit for,” Allen said. “To see them rise to that level on their own is pretty neat.”