The Power of Inclusion in Volleyball and Life

The Power of Inclusion in Volleyball and Life

Jonathan Ledoux is in his element as an assistant coach of Winnisquam Regional High School’s volleyball team. The joy on his face as he cheers on the team and high fives the players is clear evidence of that. It’s the kind of life experience anyone wants: to be surrounded by people they care about and doing things that make them happy.

Jonathan, who has Down syndrome, connected with Lakes Region Community Services in 2010. In his early 30s, he was shy and didn’t get out very much. That began to change as he spent time out in the community with his LRCS direct support professional, Kevin Archibald.

Six months later, Jonathan’s step-father became very ill. Kevin had established a strong connection with Jonathan, so he and his wife Cassandra offered to take him into their home on short notice. Jonathan did very well living with the Archibald’s and when his step-dad passed away a short time later, the Archibald’s became his Shared Family Living (SFL) providers. As SFL providers, they not only put a roof over his head, but opened up their lives and made Jonathan a member of their family.

Because Kevin Archibald is involved in coaching several sports teams within the Winnisquam school district, games and practices became a natural place for Jonathan to spend time and meet people. It took a little while for Jonathan to get used to the sport team environment and all the new faces, but eventually he became very comfortable with the students, coaches and other staff.

Volleyball is Jonathan’s favorite sport.  During practices he’ll stretch with the team, shag balls, help during drills, or do whatever is needed to help prepare the team for competition. Jonathan enthusiasm and team spirit is powerful for everyone. The Winnisquam team has won several state championships and Jonathan has been named Assistant Coach of the Year for Division III Volleyball two years in a row.

Meg Rennie, Jonathan’s Resource Coordinator, says she feels privileged to have watched Jonathan’s transformation over the past several years. “Jonathan’s story is an amazing example of how the love  and support of a family and community can help someone achieve their full potential and inspire others to meet their goals along the way.”

Click here to see a YouTube video that was provided to us by the Archibald family with some great footage of Jonathan’s time with the team.

Comments, questions, and ideas for future blog posts can be sent to: Joanne Piper Lang, LRCS VP Development