Meet Someone Excellent – Abbe Gates: 2018 Volunteer of the Year.
“In retrospect, I’m so glad it happened to us because the Blazin’ Soccer Dogs would never have formed if this situation hadn’t happened. It was so heartbreaking, but it was worth every tear when I saw all the children excited to put on their uniforms.”
Abbe Gates has made it her life goal to help individuals with autism and other diverse needs achieve their absolute best. In 2007, after her 11-year-old daughter, Sadie was told by a local coach that she couldn’t play because her Down Syndrome was a “liability” against the team’s chances of winning, Abbe was crushed. Determined to give her daughter the opportunity to play, Abbe started Blazin’ Soccer Dogs, an inclusive soccer team where everyone is welcome, and no one will ever be turned away. As an inspiring mom, Abbe has a line up of willing kids, parents and volunteers to support the team which grows every year.
“My story is very simple. Both my kids have special needs and I started to see how few opportunities for them were out there, so I created my own. When my daughter was turned away from our local soccer team for having Down Syndrome, I then created my own soccer team. I created a Friday get-together program, since there was nothing for my teenage daughter and her friends. I am not one to stand back and just walk away, I do something about it, and I will continue until my last breath. I am just a mom, I only want what my kids and all the others deserve, and that’s to be treated equally.”
Ten years later, Sadie, now an adult, is a league volunteer and Sadie’s older brother Lucas, who has Autism, runs the Rain City Wolves division for youth. Abbe has also created ‘A Night to Remember’, a gala for teens and young adults with diverse abilities and she similarly helped establish a social group for teens through the Vancouver Parks Board, called Friday Friends. Alongside this Abbe continues to provide help and a caring shoulder to many families needing advice and support during difficult times. Few people can match Abbe’s passion, dedication and energy. Abbe is someone excellent.
Do you know someone excellent like Abbe?
Nominate them for a 2019 British Columbia Excellence in Autism Award. The awards recognize and celebrate the impact of individuals, organizations and groups whose work continues to drive us towards an inclusive society. Learn more about our categories and nominate someone excellent in your community today!
Thank you to Applewood Auto Group who sponsored the Volunteer of the Year award in 2018, and has returned in 2019 to sponsor this award again.