Amber Beech closed out her high school soccer season last Friday, when her Warwick Vets squad lost in the Division II semifinals. But Beech’s most important kicks of the year are still on the agenda.
The Vets senior will host a Kick Out Cancer fundraising event as part of her senior exhibition project on Friday at Warwick Vets. She has four teams of her classmates ready to square off in a round robin tournament for a good cause, and her goal is to raise $1,000 for the Cancer Unit at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
“I wanted to incorporate my passion in a way that would allow me to give back,” Beech said. “I thought this would be a really cool idea.”
Beech started exploring the possibilities in March, the time of year when a lot of juniors start thinking about senior projects. Part of the mission of the project program is to give seniors a chance to make a meaningful connection between their learning and the outside world.
Beech’s idea was a perfect fit. Soccer is one of her passions, something she’s been doing since she was 7 years old. Then there were the months of planning, organizing and publicizing, all with a meaningful impact.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot,” she said. “I’ve learned how to adapt on the fly and how to use the help of others. It was a new feeling to come up with a cause and see people embrace it and want to help. To have the support of teachers, my family, my friends – it was awesome.”
Apart from the planning, much of the project involved learning about cancer, from its causes and effects to treatments and how the average person can help. Beech has always been drawn to kids and plans to major in early childhood education in college, so the cancer unit at Hasbro was a natural fit. She plans to volunteer there in the near future.
For the tournament, Beech started from scratch in July and has built it into even more than she could have envisioned. She made the teams co-ed, to give it a new twist and attract more players.
“The girls always want to get a chance to play against the boys,” she said.
Beech approached local business for raffle items and was met with a big response. The same was true when she set out to plan the event – school officials, teachers, teammates and their families were willing to help in any way they could. When the Vets girls’ soccer team started making a playoff run, Beech had to move the tournament back a week, but the school made it happen.
The fundraising will be driven by an entry fee for the players, plus the raffle items and an admission charge of $3. Ribbons and food items will also be on sale, and anyone attending the tournament games is encouraged to bring a new or unopened toy or a book.
On the field, the teams will play 50-minute games in round-robin fashion to determine a champion.
But whichever team takes the title, Beech and the people who helped make her project possible can already celebrate a win.
“It’s really exciting,” she said. “It’s been going on since July. It’s been stressful to get everything ready but I’m really excited.”
The tournament is scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. on Friday at Warwick Vets.