VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The Eliza Hope Foundation is hosting the Hope Stars Soccer League in an effort to give children with autism the opportunity to play sports.
"It’s lonely when you have a kid with special needs so it’s nice to be able to be in a community that knows what each of you are going through," Eliza Hope Foundation founder and CEO Aimee Darby said.
The league takes place every Saturday at Mount Trashmore Park, where kids with autism gather to play soccer.
It was Darby's personal experiences that led to the creation of the league. Her daughter, Eliza, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and passed away at four-and-a-half years old. Darby found it difficult to find activities that her daughter could take part in.
"Eliza never had anything to do on the weekends," Darby said. "We never had any sports or activities and we felt like we were missing out 'cause all of our friends who had typical kids were doing soccer, or doing dance, or had boy scouts or girl scouts.
"People don’t know how hard it is. These kids have so much to offer and they’re really amazing. They have joy when they can’t do all the things that a typical kid can do, but they’re still happy."