‘Everyone knows Kayla!’ – An Ausome Story of Community

An OG, fan favourite and Ausome lifer – Kayla Garvey has been a part of the Ausome community since day one. 

In 2015, Kayla was an assistant basketball coach with Shooting Stars Ottawa when she recalls her mom receiving an email from Ausome co-founder Derek Firth. Kayla was invited to volunteer for a basketball program for kids with autism. Before her mom could finish reading, Kayla said: “Sign me up!”

It was Ausome’s inaugural program and Kayla recalls: “I was 16 years old and so excited! It was my first time volunteering in my community.” She was paired up with an Ausome athlete with whom she quickly bonded and thought to herself: “I don’t want to give this up.” 

Since then, she has gone on to attend every new Ausome “Try-It” program that has come  along. Kayla just had so much fun with the athletes that she “just never left.” She’s watched the athletes play and grow, all the while also witnessing the Ausome family flourish. 

As Ausome grew exponentially, so did Kayla’s own sense of community. She shared: “Ausome has made me who I am today.” She says she has met so many terrific like-minded people that value her as much as she cherishes them. She’s formed long-lasting friendships with other staff members, strong bonds with volunteers and meaningful relationships with athletes and parents.

Over the last 5+ years, Kayla has worn many…shoes. By putting herself in others’ shoes, she’s learned to “adapt and change how I think in different situations.” As Kayla puts it, she’s developed “advanced level interpersonal skills.”

At Ausome, Kayla has always felt accepted, encouraged and supported—and learned the true power of community. She now pays it forward in all aspects of her own life while continuing to wear her Ausome t-shirt with pride.


Written By:
Anya Pelot
Programs Coordinator