Mitzvot from the Heart: Harry Blasé

Harry Blasé, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Harry wanted to volunteer at a sports organization that focused on kids. Not sure where to turn, he and his parents, Lindsay and Chris Blasé of Creve Coeur, met with Debbie Bram, Shaare Emeth’s director of Jewish Life and Learning. She suggested the Disabled Athlete Sports Association (DASA).

Founded in 1997, DASA is a nonprofit specializing in adaptive sports and fitness opportunities for children with a physical, visual or hearing disability. Participation in the program is designed to promote physical fitness, self-confidence, family values, and a positive, team-building atmosphere that will encourage personal growth throughout all aspects of life.

For six months, Harry, a student at Whitfield School,  volunteered every week, running track with the disabled athletes and quickly made friends. At first, he wasn’t sure what to do or how he could be of assistance. The directors immediately put him at ease and told him to just be himself, have fun and start running with his peers. From then on, Harry had a great time. 

One of the kids Harry befriended was Chance. Although legally blind, he ended up beating Harry in most of the races they ran. From that, Harry learned a very important life lesson: One shouldn’t judge anyone else based on his or her differences.

Meghan Gottleib, DASA program director, said that Harry did a wonderful job with their programs. 

“He helped us with several events, but was most helpful at our track and field practices where he worked with several of our younger athletes,” she said. “Harry was able to pace some of our faster runners and provide encouragement to those who needed a little cheering on. We loved having Harry at practices.”

Harry hopes to volunteer with DASA again this spring.