Mel and Sharon Lavoie: Dynamic Duo from Kitchener-Waterloo

Meet Mel and Sharon Lavoie, a dynamic duo dedicated to making a positive impact in the world of Special Olympics. Together, Mel and Sharon share a commitment to inclusivity, fostering strong friendships among athletes, and expressing gratitude to the coaches and volunteers who contribute to the success of KW Special Olympics. Their journey reflects a blend of coaching excellence, community service, and a deep appreciation for the transformative power of sports.

Mel Lavoie:

I have dedicated the past eight years to coaching with the Special Olympics and currently serve as the Coordinator alongside my wife, Sharon, for KW Special Olympics. I am the head coach for the Special Olympics ski team at Chicopee and I coach golf during the summer. In more recent news, I have been selected to coach the Alpine athletes for Team Ontario at the Nationals in Calgary which is a great honour.

My coaching journey extends to Trac 3 skiing at Chicopee and many years of coaching hockey. Throughout my coaching experience, I've held the belief that fairness and setting a positive example are crucial in sports. Every athlete deserves a chance to play and feel important to the team. Special Olympics holds a special place in my heart, and the interactions with athletes, such as riding up the ski lift and discussing their day, bring unparalleled fulfillment, turning any challenging day into a better one.

The excitement and amazement I find in coaching for Special Olympics are truly unparalleled. Witnessing the incredible abilities of the athletes is a constant source of inspiration. Alongside my coaching role, I've worked for the Waterloo Region District School Board for 43 years, serving as a project coordinator. A significant aspect of my job involves making buildings more accessible. Whether building new fully accessible schools or installing elevators in older ones, I feel fortunate to contribute to creating inclusive spaces.

My dual commitment to coaching and accessibility work has been a rewarding journey. Working with Special Olympics has allowed me to meet remarkable individuals, and I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of these athletes. With over four decades of service with the school board, I am grateful for the chance to contribute to both sports and education, fostering inclusivity and breaking down barriers.

Sharon Lavoie

For eight years, I've served as the Community Coordinator for Special Olympics Kitchener-Waterloo, and my husband Mel joined me in this role three years ago. Prior to retirement, I spent 25 years working with adults with developmental disabilities, witnessing many of them find joy and fulfillment through participation in Special Olympics. It's been a heartwarming experience to connect with new athletes and their families, appreciating each athlete's individual qualities.

One particularly rewarding aspect has been observing the strong friendships that develop among the athletes, and the remarkable support they offer each other. Mel and I want to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to all the coaches and volunteers who have contributed to the success of KW Special Olympics. We feel truly blessed to be part of the Special Olympics family.