6-year-old Kenley Miles signs to AU volleyball team



Six-year-old Kenley Miles prepares to sign to the AU volleyball team

Leah Burtscher

On Sept. 25, the Ashland University women’s volleyball team officially signed Kenley Miles as their newest team member.

AU has partnered with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization that allows children facing life threatening illnesses to get involved with local colleges and universities through their athletic programs. By joining these teams the kids are able to make connections and form bonds they otherwise would not have the chance to.

The Eagles welcomed Kenley at a monumental draft day ceremony held in the Reinhart Room of AU’s Kates Gymnasium. The announcement was made to a room full of excited staff, team members, cheerleaders, and family members.

“This gives them the chance to experience something that they didn’t think they could do, or anyone else thought they could do. It gives them an extra boost of confidence and happiness that can’t be brought about in other ways, and it shows strength in them to go outside of their comfort zone and try something they had never tried before” junior middle hitter Lexi Lombardo said.

For kids dealing with serious and chronic illnesses, sometimes the best thing they need is something to help them to cope in a positive way.

“It gives them an opportunity to become distracted from what they are dealing with from their outside life so they can have this fun, loving family that we hopefully can be to her” sophomore defensive specialist Sophie Dahn said.

Team IMPACT prides itself on its ability to create a network of support for children in need.
“She has already been in tears because she is so excited. Everyday she asks ‘Is it time to go to the game?’ It just makes her feel really important and included” Miles’ mother, Morgan said.
“I hope that this helps her with independence, as we take a step back, and help her keep her mind off things by feeling included and keep up her positivity,” Morgan Miles said.

According to Team IMPACT, this program not only grants the children facing these medical challenges a new support system, but also provides a new perspective for student athletes.

“They get a chance to be around 18 adults who are good, positive role models and someone they can have relationships with. They can see what it’s like in college and just connect with people that can have a huge impact on the rest of their lives” head volleyball coach Kevin Foeman said.

Kenley Miles was not the only new addition to the Eagles thanks to Team IMPACT. On Sept. 16, Jagger Shaw was welcomed to the Ashland men’s soccer team. Both of these two new eagles are going to be great additions to their respective teams and AU is excited to welcome them home.