(LDWF) - Caroline Rylie Duos wouldn’t take no for an answer. Determined to help special needs children like herself, Duos, only 6 at the time, kept telling her mother, Jessi Duos, she wanted to come up with a plan to raise money.
“I thought it was sweet but I kind of blew it off,’’ said Jessi. “But she kept talking about it and talking about it.’’
One day, Rylie, who has cerebral palsy, and a friend, were designing t-shirts and Jessi asked what was going on.
“She said, ‘I’m designing t-shirts so we can sell them and raise money for kids with special needs,’ ’’ Jessi said. “She kept pushing. So I finally talked to some people and decided to go ahead and go all in with the foundation.’’
In 2016, Rylie’s dream came true when CRD (Caroline Rylie Duos) No Limits Foundation was created. She’s now 11 and a fifth grader at Benton Elementary School. The foundation has raised $70,000 and invested in many projects.
“We’ve remodeled bathrooms to make them wheelchair accessible,’’ Jessi said. “We’ve purchased walkers and wheelchairs. We’ve paid for cancer treatment deductibles. It’s been such a blessing for our family.’’
And it’s a testament to Rylie’s dogged determination. It’s not the only area in which she excels.
Despite her disease, which forces her to use a walker and wheelchair to get around, Rylie has become a part of Benton Elementary’s vaunted archery team. Benton has won several state, national and world championships and Rylie has been a part of them.
She competed in last week’s Archery in Louisiana School’s (ALAS) State Tournament, held at the Shreveport Convention Center on Saturday (April 6). ALAS is part of the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP), which is administered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF).
Rylie finished 97th in the bullseye competition in the girl’s elementary division out of 160 competitors with a score of 210 out of 300. She was 62nd in the 3D competition out of 82 participants in the girl’s elementary category with a 176 score. Like all competitors at the state meet, Rylie had to qualify at a regional tournament. Benton Elementary captured the elementary division state team championship.
Rylie has a special stand from which she shoots during the competition. Though she has several extracurricular interests, she’s also a cheerleader, archery is her first love, she said.
“She talks about it all the time,’’ Jessi said. “She practices three days a week and some on the weekends. We bring the stand home on weekends and that’s how she’s able to stay sharp.’’
The ALAS/NASP program introduced Rylie to archery. She experienced it in her physical education class and fell in love.
“She tried it and the coaches worked with her,’’ Jessi said. “We built the stand and branched out from there. She did pretty well with it. Her best score is 241 at practice and she had a 219 at the regional meet.’’
Though competition at ALAS regional and state meets are encouraged, the primary goal of the program is to introduce students in grades 4-12 to the sport no matter their skill level. ALAS is taught in more than 200 Louisiana schools and to about 24,000 students.
“To see the joy Rylie has when she holds up that team championship trophy reminds me of why ALAS is so important,’’ said Chad Moore, who oversees ALAS for LDWF. “It is designed for all students to learn the sport. It doesn’t matter where you live, what your background is or how good an athlete you are, archery is something you can take part in and it’s something you can do for life. Rylie is a perfect example of that.’’
The program is available to all schools in Louisiana and grants are available to assist with equipment purchases. For more information about the ALAS program, contact ALAS State Coordinator Chad Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 318-230-4352.
ALAS is hosted in conjunction with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Foundation. For more information, go to http://www.lawff.org/
For more information on Rylie’s foundation, go to https://www.crdnolimitsfoundation.com/