Together with Catalyst Foundation for Universal Education, Kickstart Joy launched in 2017 to bring a tiny sliver of normalcy to displaced, marginalized youth, even if just for ninety minutes. This high-intensity soccer training program is run by volunteer coaches and Mehdi Ballouchy, former MLS veteran and Kickstart Joy creator, in various refugee camps across the world, with a specific focus on Syrian refugees.
As the crisis in Syria escalated, people all around the world were all horrified, including the Kickstart Joy team. Aside from the typical donations pledged to various organizations, helping in a real, hands-on manner was extremely important to us, and our first mission to Zaatari refugee camp was born.
We’ve relied on the power and kindness of people to help execute our missions. Encouraging local kids and youth soccer clubs around the United States to donate gently-used or new soccer gear for refugees has been an integral part of Kickstart Joy’s mission. In a time where the digital world has consumed the future generation, tasking them with helping others, no matter how far away, has helped build compassion, leadership and responsibility amongst young donors.
Kickstart Joy works in partnerships with various NGOs to bring soccer programs to displaced, marginalized communities around the globe. Our main purpose is to bring fun and laughter while helping kids forget about their dire situations, even if it’s only for a short period of time. Kickstart Joy uses soccer as the pull to teach social skills. The Voids in the lives of refugee youth are vast-endless empty days due to limited hours in the classroom and lack of extra-curricular activities. Programs like Kickstart Joy can fill these voids, build confidence and spread smiles.
Zaatari Refugee Camp - Jordan
Al-Azraq Refugee Camp - Jordan
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