Wallace Family Shares Team IMPACT Experience at DII SAAC Super Region Convention

Team IMPACT and Division II have been partners since 2016, working together to make a positive impact on the lives of children facing serious illness and disability through the power of team. A portion of this year’s NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Super Region Convention focused on Team IMPACT and Division II’s powerful partnership and the incredible stories and lifelong memories that have come from it. The friendship between the Wallace family and East Stroudsburg University (ESU) softball is one of those stories—and the Wallaces joined the student-athletes at the convention to share their heartwarming experience with the Warriors.

During the SAAC Super Region Convention, which took place from April 14-16, 2023, in Pittsburgh, PA, student-athletes gained invaluable leadership skills, honed their personal and professional development goals, and learned to use their student-athlete voice to enact positive change and growth on their campuses. They also familiarized themselves with Division II’s Make It Yours brand and the Division II student-athlete initiatives, one of which is Team IMPACT.

The convention provided a platform for the Wallace family to share their heartwarming story. The Wallace’s nine-year-old twin daughters, Lillian and Julia, were matched with the ESU Softball team through Team IMPACT in January of this year. Lillian was born with multiple heart conditions and, together with her sister, has found support and friendship in the Warriors. This match allowed the Wallace family to become official members of the ESU softball program, forming strong bonds with the student-athletes, coaches, and staff. One athlete in particular, redshirt freshman Jada Smallwood, formed a uniquely close friendship with Lillian and Julia, prompting them to nominate her as their 2023 Team IMPACT Teammate of the Year.

The Wallace family’s presence at the SAAC Super Region Convention emphasized the transformative power of the partnership between Team IMPACT and Division II. By integrating the Wallace family into the ESU softball team, Team IMPACT and Division II exemplified their commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of young individuals and promoting inclusivity in collegiate sports.

Lillian and Julia’s friendship with ESU softball is just one of more than 125 current Team IMPACT matches across Division II, with nearly 600 matches across the division since Team IMPACT’s founding in 2011.

The convention provided an opportunity for student-athletes, administrators, and conference representatives to witness the positive influence that the Wallace family and the ESU softball team had on each other. Their story served as a reminder of the importance of community engagement, empathy, and support within the world of collegiate athletics.

Through events like the SAAC Super Region Convention, Division II continues to prioritize the holistic development of student-athletes and emphasize the power of their collective voices. By partnering with organizations like Team IMPACT, Division II institutions foster an environment where student-athletes can make a profound impact on the lives of others while gaining invaluable life skills and experiences.

As the Division II SAAC Super Region Convention concluded, student-athletes returned to their campuses equipped with new ideas and strategies to enhance their own SAAC programs and engage the Team IMPACT community within their athletic departments. The convention provided a platform for learning, collaboration, and inspiration, highlighting the remarkable achievements and partnerships that continue to shape Division II athletics and Team IMPACT for the better.