Some highlights from my career and life
Below are the kind words of the late Tom Lantos, Representative of California:
Madam Speaker, I wish to recognize the achievements of a very special man within my home district in California. Russell Ewell, who has recently been honored with a Jefferson Award, is much deserving of the accolade, which spotlights outstanding public service.
Mr. Ewell brought the community e-soccer, a unique athletic outreach program affiliated with the Hope Technology School, where his wife is the executive director. The unqualified success of e-soccer in bringing together typical and special needs children of all ages on a soccer field is a testament to Russ Ewell's visionary concept.
Children are encouraged and enabled to develop skills, confidence, and self-esteem through the sport of soccer. They also make lasting friendships. This wonderful program serves over 250 children on Saturday mornings in communities throughout the bay area. It is free and benefits from an all-volunteer staff. Showcasing the growing scope of e-soccer is the fact that a team of nine coaches from the program recently visited Nairobi, Kenya, to train volunteers there on how to establish their own e-soccer activities. There are plans for further outreach projects in other countries.
Madam Speaker, Russell Ewell established the e-soccer program in April 2000 specifically for children with special needs in foster city. His inspiration came from his two sons with special needs. Their younger sister, Jadyn, is not a special needs child. Russ wanted Jonathan, who has down syndrome, and Jordan, who is autistic, to be able to interact with typical children, benefiting from the athletic coordination practiced in soccer. He also wanted families with special needs children to have an opportunity to enjoy an athletic experience that is both positive and uplifting. To that end, he worked with soccer coaches, special needs educators and physical therapists on developing a program like no other; a sports program that doesn’t isolate typical and special needs children, but integrates them seamlessly into group activities. Both communities benefit from the interaction. Russ has seen that success in his own children as well as the many families who have participated. What began with 5 children has grown into a blossoming effort with 250 young soccer players.
Madam Speaker, it is with great pride and appreciation that I bring Russell Ewell's e-soccer program to the attention of my colleagues in the house of representatives. He has created a shining example of how one man’s idea can alter the lives of many for the better.
We dreamed of creating affordable communication apps, which are capable of giving the verbally challenged a voice. All needed to be mobile, simple, and flexible. Quick Talk AAC and Quick Type AAC have been the results so far, and they have been helping those in silence speak ever since.
This picture is Phil McKinney and me at the October 11, 2011 Hacking Autism event. We have collaborated on projects using touchscreen computers as a form of assistive communication technology.
The American Institute for Public Service was created in 1972 by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, U.S. Senator Robert Taft Jr. and Sam Beard. The public foundation established the Jefferson Awards, a Nobel Prize for community and public service. In 1977, the Jefferson Awards embarked on a media partnership with local newspapers and television stations to highlight community service in America.
During the Jefferson Award ceremony, I chatted with Ronnie Lott, San Francisco 49er in the NFL Hall of Fame. He is a big supporter of the Jefferson Awards and was handing out awards during the ceremony.
We began E-Soccer in April 2000 at a small park in Foster City with just a few friends and a handful of kids. My two sons have special needs, and I thought they would benefit from learning the game of soccer while building friendships with other children.
What we didn’t expect was that over the next decade, E-Soccer would develop into an all-volunteer, inclusive soccer program that serves hundreds of kids with and without special needs in the Bay Area and around the world.
E-Soccer is dedicated to empowering both typical and special needs children of all abilities to reach their full athletic and social potential. E-Soccer’s inclusion methodology promotes leadership as well as social, character, and athletic development for each child in an individualized manner. I was fortunate enough to receive the Jefferson Award and a Congressional Citation, in recognition of my service.
The E-Soccer team is grateful to have partnered with the San Jose Earthquakes. The top picture is me with Chris Wondolowski (Earthquakes team captain and Team USA for 2014 World Cup). The bottom is picture is me with Dave Kaval (President of the Earthquakes).
This book is my attempt to provide hope to those who have been turned off by organized religion and the God it presents.
5 Ways to Beat Caregiver Burnout
5 Ways Parents Can Make Technology Work For Their Children With Special Needs
6 Steps to Visionary Planning for your Child with Special Needs
10 Special Technology Tips for Exceptional Kids
How to Succeed at Inclusion