TOPSoccer program brings students together

TOLEDO (WTVG) - A Central Catholic student is up for a special award after volunteering for the TOPSoccer program.

Owen Traver, a senior at Central Catholic, spent the past five years working with Zoe Hamblin. He started volunteering with TOPSoccer when he was in eighth grade and was paired up with fifth grader, Zoe Hamblin. Hamblin lives in the Anthony Wayne School district and has both physical and cognitive disabilities.

The TOPSoccer program pairs players with those who might have to overcome obstacles to learn the game. Once a week for the past five years, Owen and Zoe have spent an hour together growing. Owen says the program has had huge payoffs.

"It's given me a good perspective on life, and it's showed me how to be fully involved in volunteer work and how it can affect others and really bring a lot of happiness to others," Traver said.

Zoe's family says the program has helped her both physically and mentally. Today, Zoe continues to enjoy soccer and is now a cheerleader at Anthony Wayne. This year was her first chance to attend homecoming and Owen asked to take her to the dance at Anthony Wayne.

Hamblin's family says it's amazing to see Zoe flourish, and they credit her success on and off the field, in part, to Owen.

"Just know that there are people out there that do really good things," Brooke Hamblin said.

Owen is nominated for the TOPSoccer Buddy Award. He will attend the award ceremony December 7 in Cleveland.