Fifth-grade La Cañada soccer lover sets cancer-prevention goal with 'Kicks 4 a Cure'

Paradise Canyon Elementary fifth-grader Montana LaBarge got a taste of philanthropy in action this Saturday when she single-handedly hosted "Kicks 4 a Cure," a soccer tournament benefiting City of Hope.

The 11-year-old takes a Young Social Entrepreneurs program operated through School-X, a local nonprofit that teaches students to develop a product or service and put it before the marketplace.

A member of L.A. Premier Futbol Club, LaBarge said her love of the sport and dad Mark's work as a cancer researcher at City of Hope inspired Kicks 4 a Cure.

"I really love soccer, and I admire my dad because he helps save lives every day," she said, explaining how she sold club-donated jerseys to fund the event.

The young entrepreneur secured the La Cañada High School playing field and asked state Sen. Anthony Portantino to referee. City of Hope provided a Web platform that collected $2,300 in donations, and another $190 came in on tournament day, said mom Jenny Wang.

LaBarge said she hopes the money helps prevent cancer. As for a future in philanthropy?

"It's definitely something I want to do," she said. "Although it was a lot of work, it was a lot of fun too."


Sara Cardine,

Twitter: @SaraCardine