Olympic gold medalists Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux launch foundation to support underprivileged children
After Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux played starring roles in bringing the U.S. its first Olympic gold medal in women's hockey in 20 years, they've traveled the country for events.
They've gone on popular TV talk shows. They've appeared at NHL games. They've hung out with celebrities.
But perhaps none of those events resonated to the Lamoureux twins like the ones where they met with underprivileged children, gave away laptops and hooked them up to the internet as part of a Comcast-led program.
"Really seeing what underprivileged looks like around the country, what it feels like, has opened our eyes," Monique said. "How are we really going to make a difference? Yes, we are partnering with a (Comcast) program, but what are we going to do day-to-day to make a difference?"
To answer that question, they've launched the Monique and Jocelyne Lamoureux Foundation, which will be aimed at supporting underprivileged youth, primarily in education.
"Our mission is to give back to community initiatives that are important to us," Jocelyne said. "A lot of that will be geared toward kids and underprivileged youth based around education. Yes, there will be some sports aspects that will be involved in the future, but it's really about leveling the playing field.
"We grew up with a lot of opportunities that our parents provided us with. We're hoping we'll be able to give back to some initiatives that will help kids reach their full potential, whether that's in school, athletics or extracurriculars outside of athletics. That's going to be our mission."
The foundation will be primarily geared toward helping those in the state of North Dakota. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 30 percent of the state's children live in low-income families.
"I think a lot of people will assume we're going to gear it toward girls hockey and hockey, but for us, it's very much big picture and trying to help out in a much bigger way," Jocelyne said. "This goes so far beyond sports for us at this point."
The Lamoureux twins started kicking this idea around after the most recent Olympic Games.
It was their third Olympics and their first gold medal (they got silver in 2010 and 2014). In the gold-medal game, the Americans trailed rival Canada 2-1 late in the third period, when Monique scored on a breakaway to tie it. Then, Jocelyne scored the game-winning goal in a sudden-death shootout with a dazzling move to secure gold.
Because they played such a central role, their national profiles grew exponentially. They have 65,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 70,000 on Facebook.
"Trying to make a difference in a positive manner and using our platform is something we feel is important to us," Monique said. "There's an opportunity and capacity we have just because of what we've been able to do in sports. We feel compelled to leverage every opportunity we have to try to make a difference."
The Lamoureux twins, who both recently became mothers, have no plans to stop playing, either.
They are aiming at making the U.S. roster for the Four Nations tournament in November. Then, they will set their sights on the World Championship.
The Lamoureux twins said they don't believe playing sports and working as advocates for underprivileged youth are mutually exclusive. They'll do both at the same time.
As they were finalizing their foundation, they thought back to their childhood memories of participating in track and field and swimming. Their mother, Linda, told them who she cheered for: whichever kid was behind.
"I think that's something that has stuck with us and has transcended sports and permeated to other parts of our lives," Monique said. "For us, we've really taken that to heart: Cheer for the kids who might not have the same opportunity and help level the playing field, whether that's in education or sports. I think that's become our mission now."