We are Sportable—a TEAM that is small but mighty! We are the TEAM that is always finding ways to create accessible opportunities for our athletes to engage in the abundance of sports opportunities available in our community—it may require some creative solutions but we are ready for the challenge!
Our main goal is to free our athletes to see beyond their disabilities. We feel strongly that sports are just the catalyst needed for individuals with physical disabilities to create that support system that is needed to reduce social isolation.
Each member of our team, which includes our athletes, parents, volunteers, board, and partners believes that Sportable exists to facilitate a change needed in our community—looking beyond one’s physical limitation and empowering them to focus on their abilities!
The great thing about the work we do is the inspirational stories we have to tell about our athletes—whether it be sinking their 1st basket in wheelchair basketball, the smiles on their face when they score a goal in power soccer, their amazement as they refine that serve or kayaking roll, even simply the sense of accomplishment they feel in hand cycling 26.2 miles. We come to work each day to see our athletes transform both on and off the courts!
Doing his best to share the Sportable story with everyone in RVA and beyond, Hunter Leemon is the Executive Director of Sportable. Hunter was introduced to Sportable when he volunteered to lead the Power Soccer team in 2009 – that began a love affair with the organization that carried him to his current position.
Hunter has a passion for sports & the city of Richmond, and he strongly believes that both communities are enhanced by the Sportable team, including athletes, volunteers, staff, board & supporters. He leads the entire organization on a mission to tell the story of Sportable and create a greater impact in Richmond & beyond.
When not busy telling the story of Sportable you can find Hunter chasing his son Oscar around the back yard playing soccer, baseball, kickball or Calvinball. The games always provide good entertainment for wife Dee Dee & cat Bonds.
Grace is excited to join Sportable’s team in 2018 as the Development Director! A Richmond native, Grace attended St. Catherine’s School and then headed to the mountains of Tennessee to receive her undergraduate degree from Sewanee: The University of the South. After college, Grace joined Teach for America and taught elementary school for two years in New Orleans. Missing her hometown, she decided to move back to Richmond and continued teaching at St. Andrew’s School in Oregon Hill.
While teaching, Grace volunteered with many nonprofits throughout the city and discovered her love of fundraising. She joins Sportable with a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Studies from the University of Richmond and development experience working at local nonprofit organizations.
Grace is excited to work with community members to help Sportable transform the lives of more athletes and make Richmond a place of better opportunity for individuals with physical and visual disabilities!
Kyle has always had a passion for athletics and recreation since he was a child. He was raised on a horse farm in Catlett, Virginia, where he learned the value to creative approaches to traditional sports. As a child and teen, he played multiple sports such as baseball, football and ruby. As an undergraduate, Kyle played rugby for the men’s club at the University of Mary Washington. After he graduated from the UMW, Kyle moved to the Atlanta, Georgia area where he was first exposed to Therapeutic Recreation. After moving back to Virginia, Kyle was first introduced to Sportable as a YMCA employee. During this period of time, he had planned to pursue his second degree in Recreational Therapy and he would later intern with Sportable in the summer of 2018. Kyle graduated from Florida International University and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. He is excited to officially join the Sportable team as a Program Manager. He currently lives in the City of Richmond with his wife, Marissa, and two amazing dogs, Tummy and Dot.
Forrest grew up in Chesterfield, Va and attended Matoaca High School. Throughout his childhood, his parents gave him the opportunity to play as many sports as he could. This allowed him to expand his experiences through sport whether it be building new relationships with teammates or learning new skills.
For his undergraduate degree, Forrest attended James Madison University and majored in Sports & Recreation Management with a minor in General Business. During the summer after his sophomore year, Forrest completed an internship with the Richmond Flying Squirrels, which consisted of assisting with game-day tasks that were crucial to the operation of the Minor League Baseball team. That next summer, Forrest completed another internship in Jacksonville, FL with the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, who put on golf tournaments for the sports’ youth players all throughout the Southeast U.S.
In order to further his education and attain more practical experience in the sports industry, Forrest decided to pursue his master’s degree at the Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University (with Marielle!). Throughout the one-year program at VCU, Forrest was the graduate assistant for the Facilities and Events department of VCU Athletics. This allowed Forrest to gain ample amounts of experience learning the behind the scenes aspect of what it takes to run collegiate athletics from a facilities and operations standpoint. After graduating from the Center for Sport Leadership, Forrest accepted an internship in the operations department at Richmond International Raceway for the summer to complete his master’s degree. Throughout the summer, Forrest assisted the operations office in preparation for their September NASCAR race that hosts over 50,000 people on the property of RIR, as well as the other events that fill up the 365-day calendar.
Forrest was first introduced to Sportable through volunteering with the power soccer program during his spring semester at VCU, and is extremely excited to officially be a part of the organization now!
Amber has loved playing and watching sports since her first swing of a softball bat. Throughout school, she participated in softball, Taekwondo and basketball. After graduating from Allen HS in Allen Texas, she signed up for the United States Air Force. She served for four years, and completed two tours overseas. Once she separated, she went back to school for an AA in General Studies. While trying to obtain her degree, she worked for a software company as a project manager implementing websites for multifamily housing properties. It was during this time that Amber realized that she needed to make a change, and that she longed for a career that was still focused on working with people, but also had aspects of activities she was passionate about. She decided that what she needed was not in Texas, so she made the move to Ithaca New York to continue her education. In doing so, she discovered Therapeutic Recreation and knew right away that it was the missing piece she was looking for. During her senior year she looked to fulfill her internship requirements here in Richmond at Hunter Holmes Mcguire VA Medical Center specifically for their adaptive sports program. While interning at the VA, she was introduced to Sportable and participated in a few sports with the staff and athletes. With this exposure, she knew she had found her dream career. After graduation she moved to Richmond, and took a job working in mental health. When she saw an opening at Sportable, she knew had to jump on the opportunity. She is energetic and very excited to be a part of the team. She is looking forward to supporting athletes in reaching their goals.
Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator
Josh has been an athlete and volunteer with Sportable for nearly three years after a Spinal Cord Injury rendered him quadriplegic in November of 2014. Josh grew up in Chester, VA and earned his bachelors and masters degrees at VCU. He studied English as an undergraduate and teaching as a graduate student. Josh has lived and worked as a high school English teacher in Chesterfield, VA; Denver, CO; and Quito, Ecuador.
Sports have always been central to Josh’s life. He grew up playing team sports, but found his passion in outdoor sports like snowboarding, mountain biking, kayaking, and rock climbing. As a Sportable athlete, Josh participates in kayaking, cycling, archery, rowing, swimming, and has tried most everything else.
Part-Time Director of Finance
Bill has a few decades of experience in accounting and finance, which is why we have him around although not physically that much. You see Bill hails from the Hill City (Lynchburg) and works his trade over the internet. He came to us a few years ago as a program participant and grew his involvement. His belief in Sportable comes from his personal experience in adaptive sports. Competitive by nature but not having participated in sports since a teenager, the barrier to adaptive sports were many for this wannabe athlete. It really came down to equipment and coaching for which a solution was difficult to find until happening upon Sportable. Here he says, he had the opportunity to try many sports until finally settling in on his favorite of handcycling. Now you can find Bill on many weekends for 9 months of the year racing somewhere on the East Coast. Along with training, he enjoys visiting with his 3 grown children.
Wendy was born and raised in the beautiful state of Maine and moved to Richmond in 2014 with her husband Mark and two sons, Cody and Elijah. Elijah had been playing wheelchair basketball for 5 years. Wendy’s family decided to move where he could continue to play. After a search online, they found Sportable. After seeing all that Sportable had to offer her kids, they knew they wanted to be in Richmond. One week after moving, they signed Elijah up and he started playing the next day. Wendy began to be amazed with what Sportable was offering the community. It was an organization that she became passionate about…not just as a parent, but as a member of the community. She is excited to be on staff with Sportable!
Co-Founder of Sportable
Kristen Lessig, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, is the co-founder of Sportable. Her belief that every individual posses an innate drive to compete and therefore equal opportunity to do so was the driving force behind her decision to launch Sportable in 2005 with her friend Jennifer Yocco. Sports and recreation always played a leading role in Kristen’s life, and was the primary reason she pursued her advanced degree in Physical Therapy. Once introduced to the world of adaptive sports-she quickly found her true passion-one that joined her love of helping others and being physically active. It was from there that Sportable was born- a means to target a previously underserved population in the community- providing them with the experiences that are proven to have resounding effects on their overall physical, social, and psychological well-being.
Kristen’s leadership, determination and vision for this organization provided a foundation that is still strong and thriving today. We are forever indebted to Kristen – thank you!