Ryan Groleau, Ellie Bayless and Julia Miller are this week's featured Impact Athletes.

In partnership with Impact Canopy, the official tent & signage provider of US Lacrosse, our Impact Athletes initiative seeks to highlight the efforts and contributions being made by boys’ and girls’ high school lacrosse players to support their community during these challenging days. 

Each week, US Lacrosse is reviewing submissions and selecting exemplary high school athletes to recognize. These are their stories.

This week, we highlight three individuals, including a pair of high school teammates who are finding ways to contribute to those in need.

Ellie Bayless and Julia Miller, Cincinnati, Ohio

Bayless and Miller, senior teammates at Indian Hill High School, have joined with two other friends to serve residents at Seasons, a local retirement community, who can’t leave their homes. The girls collect shopping lists from the residents that highlight what they need from the store, ranging from food to prescriptions to cleaning supplies and more, and do the shopping for them.

They return the collected items in card board boxes, delivered to each resident’s doorstep. The girls are managing over 60 shopping lists per week.

"Since older folks are at higher risk, most of them are confined to their homes,” said Miller, who will be attending Ohio University next year. “My aunt is the program director at the retirement community and asked if we could help out when the pandemic first started. As the weeks have gone on, we go to the grocery store every Wednesday at 9 am and shop for those in the community.”

The lessons of leadership and commitment that the girls’ learned on the lacrosse field are proving to be useful in their new venture.

“Determination and hard work are the driving force behind my goals and the sport of lacrosse has taught me to never give up,” said Bayless, who is headed to Miami University. “We have been doing this for about six weeks now and will continue to do it until they no longer need us. The residents have written us letters to express their gratitude and it’s so awesome to see the impact that we are making.”

Ryan Groleau, Portsmouth, N.H.

While playing lacrosse at a competitive level and being a consistent team leader has always been important to Groleau, it’s been the relationships and friendships that he values the most. He appreciates personal connections that were initially forged at the youth lacrosse level and have flourished during his four years as a varsity team member at Portsmouth High School. 

As a senior, Groleau started volunteering at a local food pantry, Gather, in Portsmouth. He also served as a leader for his team’s community service project with the organization. Groleau was so impressed with Gather's mission that he offered additional volunteer service time to this outreach.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Groleau has increased his hours of service, from about 3 hours per week to now nearly 8 hours per week. The economic impact of the pandemic has unfortunately increased the number of people seeking assistance from Gather, and Groleau has generously given his time to the organization to meet this increased demand. He has also encouraged his teammates to join him in his service.

Groleau will be attending Rhodes College, where he plans to study Business and Economics while also playing for the men's lacrosse team. He looks forward to playing at the collegiate level and learning from his new coaches and teammates. His goal is to develop further as a player and work hard in whatever capacity needed to help Rhodes continue in its upward trajectory as a program.

We all recognize that these are unusual and unprecedented times, unlike any that have been seen before. But great challenges also offer great opportunities, and US Lacrosse has already heard and shared some of these stories. Fortunately, we know that there are plenty more out there, and we want to hear your stories.

US Lacrosse has created an easy-to-use online submission form so you can share your stories and photos with us. Submissions will be accepted through June 1.