Mitzvot from the Heart: Eli Tennenbaum, Jonah Samson, Joseph Lourie

All participants  in the soccer tournament.

Ladue Middle School friends Eli, Jonah and Joseph chose to support St. Louis Children’s Hospital with an indoor parent-child soccer tournament at Vetta Sports in Manchester. They called it Kicks for Kids. The boys were inspired by the work the hospital does after its tour and learning how donations like theirs would be used.

The friends chose a soccer tournament because it was a way to share their love of the sport and to help kids who may not be as fortunate as they are. 

“We chose this project because we understand that other people cannot play the sports we can and we realize how fortunate we are,” said Joseph, who is the son of Simcha and Michael Lourie.

The project took several months to plan, market and recruit players. A lot of time was spent spreading the word about the event — by talking, texting and posting on social media —in an effort to raise awareness, solicit donations and recruit players. St. Louis Children’s Hospital helped create a website for the boys to share information about the project and collect donations.  

“We realize how lucky we are to have the ability to run around and just be kids,” the boys wrote on the website. “We, being children ourselves, think that all children should get the medical help they need and deserve to greatly improve their lives. As three boys who love soccer, we believe we can use soccer to make a difference in our community while having fun.”

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The event lasted two hours and included a round robin tournament of four teams of kids and parents. Between the seventh grade boys and girls and their dads, there were 40 participants. In the end, more than $2,500 was raised. Jonah, son of Jessica and Joel Samson, loved that he was able to combine his love of soccer and helping others. This project allowed him to do both.

Malcolm Berry, chief development office at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said the hospital was “beyond grateful” for the Kicks for Kids tournament. “Their dedication to helping other children from across St. Louis is admirable and inspiring for all of us. Joseph, Jonah and Eli are truly helping to make a profound difference in the lives of the patients and families at Children’s.” 

Eli, son of Marissa and Jordan Tennenbaum, felt proud of what he and his friends had accomplished. 

“Everyone had an incredibly fun time playing and it was really cool to be able to raise money to support a local organization through doing what you love,” he said. “Afterwards, many of the participants thought it would be a great idea to do this again next year. Who knows, maybe it will be an annual event.”