Johnathon Clark appeared in the Peterborough Examiner recently. We're so proud of Johnathon:
Dale Clifford writes:
When 13-year-old John Clark thinks about the Peterborough Merit Precision Junior A Lakers, his eyes light up.
Players and members of the OLA Junior A club mean more to him than you could possibly imagine.
Clark, a Grade 7 pupil at St. John’s School on Park St. in the city’s south end, has had health issues the past few years and is recovering from nearly five-hour surgery to remove a benign brain tumor performed at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto last August.
It was deemed a success and John’s parents Tim and Judi believe they got it all. They also have a daughter, 14-year-old Courtney. John was diagnosed with the tumour three years ago.
As a result of what he has gone through, Clark can’t play contact sports but he does play hockey for the Kawartha Komets and Special Olympics soccer. He played minor lacrosse at the house league level. It has been a challenge and frustrating for the boy, who has a love for sports.
He has received a lot of support from his family, friends and schoolmates.
Now he can add the Lakers to the list.
Thanks to a new initiative spearheaded by Lakers president Tim Barrie and Bev Quinlan, on the team’s board of directors, Clark, and young people like him, have another reason to smile and say thank you.
Quinlan and Barrie introduced Junior Lakers in the Community earlier this season, a program where players visit elementary school children in the area essentially in need of mentors and role models. About 10 players are currently involved.
Quinlan, players Riley, his son, and Matt Crough, joined the Clark family and St. John’s principal Diane Mather for a get together at the school on Monday afternoon.
While lacrosse and the teaching of such skills is a vehicle which drives this program, it is much more than that.
“We wanted to extend to include relationships and friendships and how kids, with health issues, and others benefit by sitting down and talking,” Bev said. “It is about engaging and having conversations. We wanted to give back to the community. John is a special young man and he loves lacrosse. We just want to help. We felt it was the right thing to do.”
Clark said it meant a lot to him to be with the Lakers.
“I can’t play but I can watch and learn from them,” he said. “It is fun with these guys. I get to throw balls around and talk with them. We have a fun game at the end. I’m with my friends and it’s exciting.”
Players spend a good part of a day at the schools and have been doing it five days a week.
“We play games with them and talk with them,” said Crough. “It’s all about giving back.”
Riley Quinlan added: “We are happy to help and make sure they are having fun. It is something we like to do.”
Mather said she thinks it’s a great idea.
“It is about positive relationships and the kids interacting, having conversations and being engaged,” she said. “It is exciting to learn more about this game and these players are responsible, mature young men. It is wonderful to see what they are doing.”
Tim Clark said it was good for his son.
“It is good for kids and John was so happy when he knew they were coming,” said dad. “It really helps them.”