Carlyle Connects Special Needs Community Through Soccer


Alex Gonzales

Campolindo teacher Darrion Carlyle introduces community-based soccer program.

A volunteer program that works to help special needs children through soccer has been introduced to Campolindo by English teacher Darrion Carlyle, 1st announced to the student body by leadership teacher Lindsay Webb-Peploe in the Weekly Roundup emails on November 1. The program works to connect volunteers with special needs children that have an interest in soccer.

Carlyle explained the program as an opportunity for people to engage in the community. “My goal is to encourage typical kids and special needs kids to play together, particularly in this case soccer. Volunteers come and do soccer drills with the kids. The kids just have a great time being able to be outside, run around with people and make new friends in the process,” Carlyle said.

Freshman Keira Verprauskus expressed interest in the program and said, “[I think] it’s cool that he’s spending his time doing that and putting himself out there to [work with them].”

Junior Mira Shah had heard about the program in the weekly announcements and said, “I think it sounds really amazing. I’m sure that Mr. Carlyle does a really great job at it and I think the idea of giving students who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to play soccer is awesome. I’m glad that students are getting involved in that.”

Carlyle 1st found this program through friends when he moved to the Bay Area. “I was invited by my friends when I first moved out to the Bay, and I really enjoyed how much they care for each other as a group but also how much they care for the customers and unity. I think that especially working in the school, the special needs community needs more love. They don’t get as much help; academically, they don’t get encouraged as much as I believe they should, and this is 1 way where that can happen and I can use my time to support others,” said Carlyle.

Verprauskus felt like many students would be interested in this program and said, “They know it’s helping people and also Mr. Carlyle being there will [interest] them as well.”

Shah added that students who play Campo sports might be interested in participating. “I would assume that students who participate in campus sports and also are motivated to help others [would love this program]. I think this would be a really good way to combine both of those things and so I think for that reason, people would be interested in getting involved in the program.”

Carlyle talked about how being a part of this program has affected his everyday life. “It makes me just more conscious of who needs to be cared about and loved. I think personally I can gravitate towards being a part of the crowd and whatever the crowd is doing because that’s like the best thing, but then I can’t forget the other minority groups. I think being a part of this program [reminded me] to remember that there are other people that need to be cared about such as the LGBTQI community, or the special needs [community]. I think that they don’t get as much support as they need.”