Ashlyn Sagan's Bat Mitzvah Projech Benefits Turnstone Power Soccer

September 1, 2021

When Ashlyn Sagan celebrates her bat mitzvah, she won’t be the only one benefitting from her milestone.

As part of her studies over the last two years, Ashlyn was tasked with a community service component—her Mitzvah Project—which focuses on a cause near and dear to her heart. The preparations for her bat mizvah culiminates Saturday, September 4, when Ashlyn will read for the Torah and enter into Jewish adulthood.

“My Mitzvah Project is based on doing something to help people and help the community,” Ashlyn, 12, in seventh grade at Summit Middle School, tells “Helping out the community can make the world better and safer.”

In addition to playing soccer at Fort Wayne Sport Club, Ashlyn Sagan plays
piano and is a straight-A student at Summit Middle School.

So, when Ashlyn and her Fort Wayne Sport Club Potsdam 14U visited Turnstone’s wheelchair soccer program in 2019, the light bulb went on for the left winger who has played soccer since she was 2.

“My coach, Ron Harkenrider, took the entire team to watch the Turnstone Flyers Power Soccer team play, and I felt really inspired by that,” she adds. “I chose them as my project because I really want them to continue what they’re doing, because I loved how they played.”

“I thought it would be a neat perspective to show my team that the emotions they feel on the field are some of the emotions that these power soccer players have,” Ron reflects. “Power soccer players do the exact same thing, just on an indoor court and in a wheelchair.”

Ashlyn decided to raise money for the Turnstone Flyers power soccer program, creating a Mitzvah Project website and seeking donations from family, friends and the community at-large. She also volunteered the Power Soccer National Championships held at Turnstone.

“We have never had a project like this happen,” Lauren Widenhofer, digital fundraising specialist at Turnstone, says. “To have someone think of the power soccer team and wanting to raise funds for them so they can travel to tournaments, get new uniforms and new equipment and play the same sport is really neat.”

turnstone wheelchair soccer
Ashlyn Sagan raised $2,770 for Turnstone Flyers Power Soccer through
her Mitzvah Project (photo courtesy Turnstone)

Ashlyn’s original fundraising goal was $1,000. That quickly inched up to $1,500, and later $2,000. When all the donations were counted, Ashlyn raised more than $2,700 for the Turnstone Flyers.

“She’s just passionate about what she does,” Ron says. “That’s helped our team mature a little bit and helped our team chemistry in knowing what our teammates are like outside of training and games.”

The 14U Potsdam team has experienced lots of success on the field, as well. The girls repeated as Indiana Soccer League 1st Division champions, and was promoted to the Premier Division in May. The team also won its divisional title at the Halloween Classic the last two seasons, and will seek a third-consecutive championship at the end of October. The Fort Wayne Sport Club board of directors even granted Ron’s petition to stay on as the team’s coach for one more year.

“Watching them mature from an 11-year-old to a 13-year-old, there’s a lot of changes right there. I always tell them as a joke, my favorite team happens to be the team that I’m coaching right now,” he beams.

“I love my teammates. They’re really nice, they’re fun to hang out with, and I’m glad they have the same interests as me," Ashlyn adds.

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