Image Credit: Stan Behal
"I feel great," says Katherine Chant, an enthusiastic member of the Amherstburg Heroes basketball team. "When I first came, I couldn't even make a basket. I play every Wednesday night and I get better and better. I love to play my basketball!"
The idea for the team came from Michelle Jones Rousseau, the mother of Katherine's teammate, Kyle Jones. Michelle works for Community Living and she discovered there was no basketball team in Essex County that would accept people with intellectual disabilities. Along with Mike Cox, a sergeant with the Amherstburg police, she set up the first Amherstburg Heroes game in 2005. The team now has forty-three athletes, aged from thirteen to sixty and Michelle Jones Rousseau says the program is priceless.
"This is something so special. The kids see the police as friends and people in the community see the kids in a really positive light. And as far as the team itself, well, it gives the athletes a sense of belonging, an opportunity for fun, a sense that we're all on the same level, we're all just hanging out and playing basketball. Look at the photos. We all love it!"