For Kids, From Kids

Gigi and LaurenLauren and Gillian Alper founded Kleats for Kids with their family to collect used soccer gear for distribution to athletes worldwide. Soccer, aka futbol, football, fussball, calcio, voetbal, is the world's most beloved sport. The love of the “beautiful game” has united hostile countries, guided kids from poverty, helped spread AIDS awareness, contributed to women's rights, and brought people together across the globe

We have been playing soccer for years. Each season we break in new cleats and dirty new uniforms, socks and shin guards. We kick brand new balls and play pass with teammates on perfectly manicured fields. Our old gear is typically tossed into the bottom of a drawer or discarded. This same ritual occurs year after year, over and over again throughout my soccer club and league. What a waste.

How We Got Started

We traveled to Sweden to play in the Gothia Cup, the biggest youth soccer tournament in the world. There were thousands of kids from hundreds of countries. We experienced firsthand the uniting power of soccer as the world's youth came together for a few weeks of healthy competition regardless of race or international politics. It was a privilege to play.

While visiting a small town in Costa Rica the following year, my family stumbled upon a beat up soccer pitch, with young girls getting ready to play. We felt immediately comfortable talking with the girls because we had something in common, our love of soccer. We were able to convey that we played soccer too and we smiled knowingly at each other. Right before play was to begin, something unusual occurred. Instead of suiting up, the girls simply took the field. While most of the girls wore red jerseys, few had socks, shin guards or matching uniforms. Many of the girls began play without any shoes, much less proper soccer cleats. Even so, the girls played a competitive game. It was amazing. We stood in awe as the girls made corner kicks, precision passes, and goal kicks without cleats, thinking to myself, OUCH!

After returning home, these experiences stayed with us. We knew we had to help kids who don’t enjoy the advantages we do. Now our efforts can help girls like those in Costa Rica to suit up in the equipment they need, bringing us closer one kick at a time.

Passing the Torch

My sister Lauren is now a junior in college. While I no longer play soccer, we continue to collect cleats through our contacts. I play volleyball and am a girls education advocate. KFK and I actively support the DARAJA school in Kenya, where I will visit in Summer 2015, and deliver cleats, volleyball equipment and tap shoes!

As Gillian prepares for college, the KFK mission continues with the appointment of Will Cohen as East Coast President of our newly created Hub. Will, a sports enthusiast and soccer player, is the perfect person to broaden the scope of KFK.

In the News

Kleats for Kids founder Lauren Alper was recently featured on

DARAJA DARAJA Kleats for Kids Tanzania trip Kleats for Kids Tanzania trip