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“Zoe Richard makes a good day a great day!”

So says Chris Whitt, the Wellness Director at the YMCA of Bristol. Zoe, who is often featured in our social media and who is well known for playing Granny in our Theatre Bristol plays, makes good days great days for all who know her. Zoe is one of the River’s Way Gamechangers, a group of young adults with differing abilities who accompany our program director, Matt Kyle, on weekly River’s Way walking programs in local schools. Since graduating from Virginia High, Zoe has become a walking phenom, much to the surprise of her former PE teacher, Coach Mark Daniels. Coach Daniels remembers the classes where Zoe refused to participate, and he is amazed to see that she is now one of the fastest walkers in the gym.According to Coach Daniels, when students see Gamechangers like Zoe pushing themselves to walk faster, they walk faster too. Coach Daniels says this is a win-win for everyone involved.Good classes become great classes thanks the involvement of youth and young adults with differing abilities like Zoe!

River’s Way runs walking programs with close to 1,000 students in regional high schools and middle schools.According to Matt Kyle, these programs depend on the Gamechangers for their success. Matt lets students know that the Gamechangers typically walk 5-8 miles a day in school walking programs.This sets the bar high for everyone and everyone responds. PE teachers love these programs because no one sits out. Everyone walks and people with differing abilities lead the way, often to the surprise of others.