Two years after Chase Soars died in a car accident, DeBarros family started a non-profit to keep his legacy of kindness alive after him.
Love and kindness always make a difference and this Teaticket, Massachusetts family is an embodiment of that. When the DeBarros family was grieving their son, Chase Soares who lost his life to a car accident in 2020, they wouldn't have imagined the ripple effect that their kind 23-year-old son's life will create. Chase Soars was a kind kid. When he passed away and people came forward recollecting several of his acts of kindness, they understood just how good their son's deeds were. Their son left a legacy of kindness and they knew they had to continue it.
People who knew Chase knew he was a good listener, always willing to lend a helping hand or just a warm company. He never left his home without a basketball and was ever eager to help his stepdad whenever he needed him. Chase's mom Brooke DeBarros told PEOPLE about his several simple acts of kindness. "When he learned a classmate's mother had died, Chase was the first to reach out: "I'm here for you," he told him. Once, after noticing a friend struggling, Chase cashed his paycheck to buy him groceries. "I got you," was Chase's standard reply."
Chase loved playing basketball. Incidentally, the car crash that took his life happened on February 15, 2020 — less than three weeks after the death of his idol, basketball star Kobe Bryant. Talking about the shock and grief that the DeBarros family felt, Brooke, said, "It's unimaginable pain. I didn't want to be here anymore. And I was afraid people would forget about my son. Life doesn't prepare you for a loss like this." Chase's car had crashed into a cement barrier, causing his death. After his passing away, many people came forward sharing how Chase had left a profound impact on their life with his simple acts of kindness. "People that I didn't even know that he knew have come up to me — not just his school buddies but the whole community," said Brooke. "So many people have told me things he's done, how he helped with this or got them through that."
Two years later, the DeBarros family started 'Team Chase Foundation' a non-profit initiative to encourage good deeds every day. On the GoFundMe page of the foundation, the family writes about their mission. "We harnessed our grief and threw ourselves into keeping Chase's memory alive by creating the Team Chase Foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to spread kindness through random acts, such as buying someone a meal or helping a friend. Helping other people in the memory of our son through the Team Chase Foundation has become the best thing to help us heal."
Since launching the foundation, the family has been awarded six college scholarships, assisted kids at athletic camps financially, and funded new benches in a local park. On their 'Kindness Tour' from their home in Massachusetts to Chase's birthplace in Atlanta, they gave away basketballs to kids on a Connecticut court, covered tolls for other drivers, surprised a new mom with a gift basket in an Atlanta Hospital, and distributed Starbucks and Dunkin' gift cards to people on the street. "Chase is looking down on us. That's what I believe," says his stepdad Norman DeBarros. "With this foundation, his kindness will persevere, for not just our life but future lifetimes." Their most rewarding project - the Chase Challenge Kindness Balls symbolized Chase's passion for basketball. The round plastic discs, available on the foundation website, have a QR code that can be scanned to record good deeds online. Since the launch of this project in August, 120 anecdotes of kindness have been logged from around the world. "Every day I get notified of someone registering a ball," said Brooke. "It warms my heart."
The DeBarros family only wishes to improve and increase the ways they help people. On their GoFundMe page, they talk about their plans for the future of the foundation. "We'd love to open a Foundation Office and a Grief Healing Center to offer resources for individuals seeking help for their grief or mental health recovery. Perhaps we'll even be able to further build out and administer a K-12 Chase Kindness Curriculum program as we have at Falmouth High School. We'd also love to host Chase Kindness Basketball Camps for children of all ages and to inspire acts of kindness into our daily lives on and off the court."
To read more about their foundation and support the DeBarros family in keeping Chase's legacy alive and spreading kindness, visit the Team Chase Foundation GoFundMe campaign page.
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Team Chase Foundation