U.S. Lacrosse, the sport’s national governing body, announced the launch of the Lacrosse Communities Project – a program developed to create a vertically-integrated series of opportunities for children to participate in lacrosse from grade school through adulthood.
The initiative aims to expand the reach of US Lacrosse programs into underserved urban populations while propelling the organization’s mission of providing accessibility and opportunity for kids across the country. The Lacrosse Communities Project will begin its multi-city rollout in Albany, NY, on June 21, with subsequent launches planned in Cleveland and Brooklyn, NY.
“We believe that lacrosse is a vehicle for enrichment and has the ability to change the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Susie Chase, VP of philanthropy and partnership at US Lacrosse. “We are committed to working with our trusted community partners across the country to help grow accessibility and opportunity for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds.”
Through strategic partnerships within each region, the Lacrosse Communities Project seeks to create self-sustaining, multi-generational lacrosse programs complete with cooperatively run clinics, feeder schools and recreational programs, inter-team rivalries, varied opportunities for players, coaches, officials and fans and the development of formal and informal networks to guide young people to continuing education and ultimately setting the state for gainful employment. The Lacrosse Communities Project will also ensure access to sports through the creation or renovation of athletic fields in select regions.
“With the popularity and the growth of lacrosse on the rise in recent years, this is a unique opportunity at the perfect moment in time to help individuals achieve their fullest potential through the sport,” said US Lacrosse Adirondack Chapter Hall of Fame member George Leveille and co-founder of the popular Lake Placid Summit Tournament. “US Lacrosse’s approach to rolling out the Lacrosse Communities Project in cities around the country provides the framework necessary to really achieve results and change lives.”
The Lacrosse Communities Project will launch on June 21 in Albany, NY. Community partner CityLax NYS Albany – the Albany and Capital District chapter of CityLax NYC – will serve as a pilot program beneficiary and work alongside the Albany Police Athletic League and Beverwyck Lacrosse, among others, to roll out and manage ongoing programming.
CityLax NYS Albany plans to deploy a similar model proven successful by CityLax NYC, where they’ve developed 64 teams engaging more than 1,500 boys and girls. Using lacrosse as a teaching mechanism for helping student-athletes take charge of their education, CityLax NYC seniors boast a 99.1 percent high school graduation rate compared to 70.5 percent at New York City public high schools.
“We’ve developed a model that works, and we are excited to bring CityLax to Albany and the greater Capital District region of New York,” said CityLax Founder Mat Levine. “We are grateful for our community partners like the Police Athletic League who help make it possible to introduce this game to urban communities across New York state.”
The Lacrosse Communities Project plans to expand into Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood in September, 2017 followed by Brooklyn later in the fall.
For additional information about the Lacrosse Communities Project, visit http://www.USLacrosse.org.
Photo courtesy U.S. Lacrosse