Bullis offers an array of community service options such as weekly visits to Manor Care, Deiner School, Martha’s table and Wider Circle, so why not add more opportunities to reach out?
Recently, Bullis has agreed to host a soccer program called TOPS (The Outreach Program for Soccer) in which the girls and boys varsity soccer teams, among other volunteers from neighboring schools, participate in mini soccer games with children with disabilities.
TOPS is a collaborative program between MSI (Montgomery Soccer Inc.) and Special Olympics. The athletes range from 3-18 years old with both physical and mental disabilities. In addition to Bullis, Landon and Georgetown Prep are also hosting the TOPS program on their fields. A school is able to “adopt” a specific event or season to host the program.
Senior James Barlia from the boys varsity soccer team has been attending the weekly practices. Getting to spend time with the kids and playing the sport he loves allowed Barlia to easily decide to participate in this program.
“It’s a very rewarding experience and a good thing to do,” Barlia said, “It’s also a way for our team to give back to the community doing what we love”.
Senior Dana Martin from the girls varsity soccer team applauds the TOPS program’s legitimacy towards the children. The program’s partner, MSI, provides the kids with their own uniforms and equipment to give them more confidence in their playing abilities as they engage in drills and games with their counselors.
Through drills and interactive activities, the kids can feel like they are competing without disabilities; “If the ball gets off their feet we are right there to give it back to them,” says Dana.
Sophmore Emily Renkey is another active counselor at Bullis on Sundays from the girls varsity soccer team. When asked about her experience there, she reflected on a little girl named Julia. Emily explained how sweet and friendly Julia was despite her natural disadvantages. Julia is an example of how children with mental of physical disabilities are still able to smile with the help of programs like TOPS.
The Bullis School will continue to host TOPS for 6 weeks. Bullis is exemplifying the significance of: “Giving back to the Community”. More students are encouraged to join such programs as it enriches Bullis and the outside community.