SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A local nonprofit athletic program for developmentally disabled kids and teens has expanded from the ice rinks to the grass fields.
San Diego Chill was created in 2013 by a La Jolla teenager for his Bar Mitzvah project. Isaiah Granet, who was 13 at the time, developed the program after he noticed a kid was always watching Granet's team play ice hockey but could not participate because he was mentally disabled.
San Diego Chill gives kids and teenagers with conditions such as autism or down syndrome the opportunity to play team ice hockey thanks to a group of volunteers who coach the group.
Isaiah Granet's sibling, Ezra, admired his older brother's efforts and decided to expand the program in a big way when his Bar Mitzvah project came around. "There was that same need in the community as there was for ice hockey but for more sports than just ice hockey," explaned Ezra.
In 2023, Ezra founded San Diego Chill Out. The volunteer-driven program follows the same concept as Chill San Diego, but offers team sports in basketball, soccer, bowling, volleyball and ropes courses.
"It's hard for our kids to be included. And this brings them into their own community, not the one they’re always trying to get into, that’s how I see it," explained a mother whose son was diagnosed with autism, and is currently on the Chill Out San Diego team.
The San Diego Chill Out and San Diego Chill programs are free, but donations are accepted. Visit http://sandiegochill.org to learn more.