Give youth in Lake County an opportunity...

Ever since she was a child, Desareih dreamt of being the first in her family to attend college. And thanks to the generosity of people like you, Desareih is now attending the College of Lake County on scholarship, where she is studying to be an athletic trainer.

For Desareih, there was a time where none of this seemed possible.

Like many families in Lake County, Desareih’s parents struggled for years to support her and her siblings, often working multiple jobs at a time. They couldn’t afford for her to play soccer, her lifelong passion, let alone save for college tuition.

To make matters worse, in high school Desareih struggled with depression. She felt unmotivated and hopeless about her future, and she had difficulty connecting with others. 

But things turned around in July of 2018 when Desareih had the opportunity to participate in Heart of the City's soccer and college-readiness program, where she:

  • Found a support system of friends and mentors 
  • Gained access to an affordable soccer program, a healthy and positive outlet
  • Participated in free SAT prep, FAFSA and application workshops and college tours
  • Became a certified referee and coach, gaining job experience and earning income
  • Became a leader on her team and a mentor to younger children

But without donations from supportive people in the community, Desareih would not have had access to these opportunities. And her story is not uncommon.

With the rising costs of youth sports in America, children in low-income communities are getting left behind, resulting in long-term, negative outcomes. Research shows that children who are physically active score up to 40% higher on tests, are 15% more likely to go to college, and are less likely to participate in drug and alcohol use.

This past year, Heart of the City has provided soccer and educational services to 600 at-risk youth in Lake County, and we want to help even more youth in 2020.

Give youth like Desareih the opportunities they deserve by sending a much needed end-of-year gift today. 

Your gift will give our community’s youth:

  • The opportunity to build life skills and establish healthy habits through soccer
  •  Access to positive adult role models and friendships
  •  Educational support such as tutoring, SAT Prep, college tours and job-skill training
  •  Assistance in post-secondary planning, whether it’s college, trades/technical school, military or the workforce

Thank you in advance for helping us level the playing field for youth in Lake County. Every dollar you give makes a big difference in the lives of our youth and their families.


With deep appreciation, 

Scott McLellan

Executive Director


P.S. All first-time and increased donations will be generously MATCHED by the Julian Grace Foundation. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to double your impact!

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"I think sports are important because you can grow as a person. I don't know if I would be here if it wasn't for me playing when I was younger and at Heart of the City. Soccer has made me a better person."

-Desareih, Heart of the City Graduate