Amazing KC Kids: Meet Lily Sowle, Founder of Lily’s League

Meet this month’s Amazing Kid – Lily Sowle! Along with being your typical middle-schooler (enjoying soccer, reading and Snapchat), Lily is the creator of Lily’s League: Cleats for a Cause, which donates gently used cleats and other soccer equipment to kids in Haiti. Read on to find out why this St. Therese Catholic School eighth-grader created her charity, and how you can get involved!

What sparked your interest in starting Lily’s League?
One day, I was listening to one of my role models – Max Touloute, a professional soccer player from Les Cayes, Haiti. He talked about how poor his country is and how kids had to play with soccer balls made out of plastic bags. They couldn’t afford a real soccer ball and many of them don’t have cleats either. I thought about all of the extra soccer equipment in our garage that no longer fits me. I realized the impact I could make on the kids in Haiti if every kid in my area could donate extra equipment.

Once you knew you wanted to help, how did you get started?
I got started by telling my dad I wanted to make a donation of soccer equipment to kids who need it. We created a website – lilysleague.com, that explains what my charity is about, how someone can donate, and where the donated items actually go. It shows the different locations and collection dates of the bins and has pictures and a video of the kids that really need the donations.

What motivates you to continue your work?
My motivation for Lily’s League are the kids I get to meet who really benefit from the equipment people donate. Every time I go to Little Haiti, Florida, and see the kids’ smiling faces, I am more motivated than ever to continue my efforts to help them play soccer with the right equipment! I also plan to someday visit the locations where some of the Lily’s League donations have gone in Haiti.

How have your parents helped you? Who else has been instrumental in helping Lily’s League?
My parents have helped me a lot with Lily’s League. They help me put out my bins for donations and they also help me update my website. My dad also talks to some of the local soccer organizations to get their approval to put a bin at their locations. The Northland Sporting Alliance, Vahid Assadpour Soccer Training, Vlatko’s Skills Center, Parkville Athletic Center, and Huw Williams’ Soccer Camp have made it easy for me to set up bins during their training sessions. That goes a long way in helping to tell families about Lily’s League.

My godmother in New York even helped by getting the word out and some collection bins at their soccer fields! Even Sporting Kansas City donated brand new premium soccer balls! All of these people have helped tremendously.

How can other people help?
You can join me on my journey by going to my website lilysleague.com. You will be able to locate the closest bin near you to donate gently used soccer equipment. If there isn’t a bin near you, I would be happy to come to your location. One family in Liberty, Missouri reached out to me through my website, and my dad and I went to their house to pick up their soccer gear.

What’s next for Lily’s League?
I’m hoping this year I can get the opportunity to meet with the organization GOALS Haiti, located in four villages in Haiti, and play soccer with the kids there. I’ve sent over 1,000 donated soccer items to kids there, and it’s great to see pictures of them wearing some of the jerseys and cleats that people have donated. The smiles on their faces make all the effort worth it!

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Commerce Bank and Kansas City Moms Blog are proud to offer the Amazing Kid series! Featured Kansas City kids will receive a $100 investment from Commerce to help with their endeavors. Do you know an amazing kid who deserve recognition for their invention, entrepreneurship, volunteerism or advocacy work? Let us know at info {at} kansascitymomsblog.com

Jen was born and raised in Overland Park. After going to Indiana University for college, then living in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, she grew exhausted of circling for a parking spot and headed back home to be near family. She and her husband Matt are parents to a 10 year-old boy and a 8 year-old girl. Jen teaches kindergarten and her husband teaches high school, so they wonder how they’ll relate to their kids during the middle school years. She spends her free time cheering on the Chiefs, Royals, and Hoosiers, hanging out with family, laughing with her teacher friends, and fostering a love/hate relationship with boxing. She also loves traveling, Target, coffee, wine, sunflowers and all things pop culture.