As an avid ice hockey player, Isaiah believes in sports as a vehicle to help everyone gain confidence and learn about teamwork and commitment. As Isaiah’s Bar Mitzvah approached, he thought about what he could do to serve his community and share his passion for sports in a way that benefited others. He became aware of the shortage of athletic opportunities for children with developmental disabilities and decided to create San Diego Chill. The program uses a one-on-one mentoring model to teach seven to thirteen-year-olds with developmental disabilities, including Autism and Down syndrome, how to play ice hockey and engage in positive social interactions.
Teens volunteer as coaches and are assigned to specific players, allowing them to develop deep and meaningful bonds. Lessons are free for participants, with all equipment donated. San Diego Chill is recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and has grown into a welcoming community for more than 30 players and 25 coaches. Isaiah’s leadership and passion have also increased community awareness for children with special needs. For his accomplishments with San Diego Chill, Isaiah was honored with the CNN Heroes: Young Wonder Award, presented by Anderson Cooper in December 2016.