Fan Culture

8-year-old Jack Brown starts juggle journal to support Charity Ball

Generation Z is getting a bad rap. Born into a world of instant gratification and self-entitlement, kids today seem to have instant access to everything that they could possibly need. Got a cold? Google a remedy. Want to learn Japanese? There’s an app for that.

Have we forgotten what’s it like to put technology aside and work towards a goal that won’t be attained in a matter of minutes?

Ask Jack Brown, an 8-year-old from Gettysburg who takes time out of his day, each and every day, to juggle a soccer ball for at least 15 minutes. No phone. No app. Just a boy and a soccer ball.

While technology is still very much involved in Jack’s journey (at eight he is teaching himself JavaScript and HTML to update his online juggle journal), his story serves as a throwback of sorts to the Sandlot days when kids ditched the couch for the court — or the diamond, field, turf, pitch.

The driving force back then wasn’t for Instagram fame or Snapchat material but rather stemmed from a deep-rooted passion to be better than the day before. For Jack, he is able to keep track of his personal progress while raising money for those in need.

Jack returned home from school one day with the idea to combine his love of soccer with the act of helping others. Jack and his father James agreed on Charity Ball, a non-profit that was founded by 10-year-old Ethan King in 2010 to give new soccer balls to those living in impoverished communities.

As an avid soccer fan, James said it made sense for Jack to choose a soccer-related organization.

“[I wanted] to help other kids and provide soccer balls so more kids could play soccer,” said Jack.

Before starting the juggle journal in early April, Jack was up to 203 juggles in a row. As of May 4, Jack has reached 1,350 juggles in a row. And he doesn’t plan on stopping there.

He is hoping to raise $1,500 by August. So far, he has raised $260 from 6 donors.

But for James, Jack’s journey means much more than just the total contribution raised or the final juggling number.

“[Jack] said he would juggle for 15 minutes a day and he has done that even in the rain, when he wasn’t feeling well, or when the wind was so strong it was blowing his ball away. He’s really dedicated to making sure he gets his juggles in each day,” said James.

Jack’s journey is a testament to the power of persistence, the importance of dreaming big, and the efficacy of working in increments.

Jack is living proof that Generation Z can be more than just touch screen pads and mobile apps — at least for fifteen minutes a day. What will you do with yours?

If you would like to support Jack’s juggle journal, donations can be made here.

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