10News Leadership: Brothers team up to help kids with disabilities play sports

San Diego Chill on the ice
san diego chill out outdoor activity
Posted at 1:38 PM, Sep 02, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-02 16:38:03-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two brothers are using their love for sports to make a difference in the San Diego community.

Isaiah and Ezra Granet both founded nonprofits to help kids with developmental disabilities play sports.

Isaiah loves the sport of hockey and the feeling of being on the ice.

"The feeling of the cool air on your face, gliding down the ice, getting to play such a fast-paced sport is really unmatched," he says.

Isaiah says his idea to start the nonprofit San Diego Chill came after he met a young man with Down syndrome who wanted to play ice hockey but couldn't because of his disability.

"And really, it was when I realized that so many people in San Diego didn't have the opportunity to do what I loved," he says.

Isaiah founded San Ciego Chill in 2013. The nonprofit is dedicated to helping kids and teenagers with autism and down syndrome learn how to skate and play ice hockey.

"I am so thrilled that so many people from our community have come together, and frankly, I'm humbled by the passion and the outpouring of support," he says.

Fast forward to the pandemic. As venues were shut down for extended periods of time, the program was put on pause and the kids had nothing to do.

Inspired by his older brother, Ezra came up with the idea to expand the San Diego Chill program to include outdoor sports.

"Some of them were regressing. They needed to get outside and interact and foster friendships with kids their own age," Ezra says.

As a result, Ezra created San Diego Chill Out.

"We've played basketball, beach volleyball, we've done a ropes course," he says.

"I'm a very, very proud older brother. No one pushed Ezra to do this," Isaiah says. "No one made him. He took this up because it's something he cared and grew to care about."

Isaiah has since graduated college and moved to San Francisco, but he says kids still meet every Sunday on the ice. As for San Diego Chill Out, they meet every month for a different activity.

"Next month we plan on going kayaking, which is going to be really fun," Ezra says.

The brothers say the nonprofits are about more than just playing sports: Learning how to socialize with each other is another important skill they emphasize. Ezra says seeing people open up is what he enjoys most about the programs.

"I think just watching some kids that are more reserved at the start and just come out of their shell and have fun, and that's the main reason we have this program — is for kids to have fun," he says.

Both of the brothers' nonprofits have made such an impact in the community that ABC 10News and Lead San Diego are proud to select San Diego Chill and San Diego Chill Out as the 10News Leadership Award winners for the month of September.

Know of someone worthy of being recognized for their contributions to the community? Follow this link to nominate them for the Leadership Award.