Last fall, Zachary was given the opportunity to be a "Little Brother" for Lenape High School's Varsity Boys soccer team. The program was started by the Paul VI girls varsity soccer coach and presented to parents of players in the TOPSoccer program, and I sent an email to have Zach participate.
His first day with the team was on his birthday last year. I was nervous because I know kids can be mean, or feel uncomfortable around special needs kids; as Zach walked up and I saw the incredibly warm welcome given him all my fears subsided. Not only did they have him participate in the practice that day the entire boys soccer program (all levels were out at the practice that day) sang Happy Birthday! Each and every game and/or practice he went to for the rest of that season followed suit, filled with greetings and acceptance.
Needless to say, Zach had been asking about the next season ever since the last season ended lol! Finally in June I sent an email to Coach to ask if they would be continuing the program. I got an email back to let me know that while Coach didn't know if the program itself was still going on, they (the team) would love to have Zachary back as part of the team and invited him to come out to the summer league games, where he was instantly greeted by each of the players. The fall season began this past week. Zach has been so excited and proud to be part of this team, and wanted to express this so naturally he got out his Legos and designed this plaque for Coach. It has a collapsible easel on the back, and is an exact replica of the logo on the shirt Zach wears to the games:
He also wrote a letter. Keep in mind that along with autism, Zachary has pretty severe processing disorders, dysgraphia, and generalized learning disorders. I was on the phone as he was typing and the only help he asked for was how to spell 2 words. Prepare yourselves, this letter is something!
The L on the shirts and all does not only stand just for LenapeIt stands for love loyalty and leadership.And I believe that all of those are in us when we put on the shirts. the L stands with us whether were on that field or on the bench and no matter what. win or lose we are a team. A team that will stand tall if the game gets rough and if we fall we fall together. That’s what I see when I look at this team. Brothers friends and and to see that is amazing in a large school like this many kids don’t even notice each other but in a game like this a team can really get to know each other and I’m glad to be a part of this. We stand for Lenape and Mt. laurel and we always will.
There is so much more I have to say and so many more stories to tell about this amazing team; I'm saving some of those in the hopes that this heartwarming story makes it into newspapers. I think Zach's words more than adequately express what this program has meant to him and therefore, to me.