Growing the Game of Volleyball in Indigenous Communities / Développer le volleyball dans les communautés autochtones

Sunil Ramgulam, Recreation Technician in John Abbott College’s Sports & Recreation Department, is taking his volleyball experience across Québec to train coaches and grow the game of volleyball in Indigenous communities. Sunil was chosen for the outreach program due to his 15+ years of experience coaching volleyball and for being the only English-speaking instructor in Québec with the “Learning Facilitator” certification for volleyball.

With the support of Volleyball Canada and the “Community Sport for All” grant from Sport Canada, Sunil has been given the opportunity to give back to the game that has given him so much already:

This experience has allowed me to share my love of the game to others in the hopes that it will continue to grow the game. When I started playing, I had a volunteer coach, if it were not for him volleyball would not have been in my life. I have had many opportunities open up to me because of volleyball, I met my wife through volleyball, I got my job at John Abbott College because I started out as a coach here and now, I am getting to travel Québec because of it. – Sunil Ramgulam


Sunil Ramgulam training volleyball coaches in Chisasibi, Québec and Pessamit, Québec as part of an outreach program with Volleyball Canada and the “Community Sport for All” grant by Sport Canada.

 Images provided by Sunil Ramgulam and Volleyball Canada.

The “Community Sport for All” grant hopes to remove barriers and increase sport participation in underrepresented groups. Volleyball Canada applied to the grant and received funding. The funds are being allocated to communities through equipment, coach training and support for their youth volleyball programs.

Sunil is a critical part of this project. […] His passion and knowledge for the sport enables new and beginner coaches to build confidence to teach volleyball to youth in their community. Participants have really appreciated his approach to training coaches; he’s approachable, adaptable and meets them where they are. He is working with some of the most remote communities in Québec who have very little volleyball equipment and access to continued training and education, but they also have the drive to learn and love for the sport of volleyball. – Lynne LeBlanc, Coaching Development Coordinator, Volleyball Canada

Along with his busy outreach program schedule, Sunil has coached the John Abbott College men’s volleyball team to a silver medal victory in the Conference Championship on March 26. Sunil and the team then finished 7th overall in Chicoutimi at the Provincial Championship on April 14-16.

Sunil Ramgulam (second to last on the far right) and the John Abbott College men’s volleyball team after their silver medal victory in the Conference Championship on March 26, 2023.

Image provided by Sunil Ramgulam.

While on the road, Sunil is introducing coaches to the opportunities available for Indigenous students at John Abbott College and the potential of their youth of playing volleyball competitively at the CEGEP level and beyond. As a coach, Sunil teaches more than just the game of volleyball, he teaches life lessons and skills. He hopes to inspire his athletes to continue growing the game the same way his volunteer coach did years ago.

Sunil will be in Sept Iles at the end of April and Akwesasne in May to continue growing the game of volleyball with the outreach program.

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