US Lacrosse launches national youth partnership in Albany
N.Y. (June 21, 2017) -- Albany High School was the host site June 21 as
US Lacrosse, the sport's national governing body, launched the
first-ever Lacrosse Communities Project. The new nationwide program is
designed to create opportunities for young people of all ages to play
the sport beginning in elementary school.
initiative aims to expand the reach of
US Lacrosse programs to
underserved urban populations while propelling the organization’s
mission of providing accessibility and opportunity for kids across the
country. The Lacrosse Communities Project launch at Albany High was
followed by a youth skills clinic
on the school’s athletic field.
“Data has shown that
student-athletes have higher grade-point averages in both high school
and college when compared to the general student population,” said City
School District of Albany Interim Superintendent Kimberly Young Wilkins,
(pictured at right).
“This collaborative effort will improve graduation rates for our
students, and it will provide the support on and off the field that our
students need to succeed.”
institutional partnerships between the district, the City of Albany, the
Albany Police Athletic League
and other local organizations, the Lacrosse Communities Project will
provide the framework necessary to create self-sustaining,
multi-generational lacrosse programs, with an emphasis on grades 3-6.
The aim of the initiative – through 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 – is to guide young people
to continuing education and ultimately setting the stage for successful
"This collaborative effort will provide the foundation in lacrosse that
our city’s young student-athletes need to become successful and
competitive as they enter our modified, JV and varsity programs," Dr.
Wilkins said. "The
City School District of Albany is glad to be a member of this team.
Community partner CityLax NYS Albany, through its alliance with
CityLax, Inc., will work
alongside PAL to offer youth programming with an emphasis on ages 12 and
under. CityLax and
will partner to offer programming for middle schoolers and beyond.
Additional programs, including the
Adirondack chapter of US
are contributing toward an initial investment of $100,000 over two
believe that lacrosse is a vehicle for enrichment and has the ability to
change the trajectory of a child’s life,” said Susie Chase, vice
president of philanthropy and partnership at US Lacrosse. “We are
committed to working with our trusted community partners in the Albany
region to help grow accessibility and opportunity for kids of all
plans to deploy a similar model in Albany that has proved successful in
New York City, where CityLax has developed 64 teams, engaged more than
1,500 boys and girls and boasts a 99.1 percent high school graduation
rate since commencing operations 12 years ago.
Life Support Network, Inc., an anti-gang not for profit that serves
Albany and the Capital Region, also is a partner in the Lacrosse
Communities Project. Its recreation program, Beverwyck Lacrosse, has
engaged more than 150 young student-athletes from disadvantaged
communities throughout the region in recent years.
year Beverwyck placed 16 out of 17 of its graduating seniors into
collaboration announced today is the realization of many hours of hard
work and dedication from multiple community partners,” said Beverwyck
Lacrosse program manager Bill Andrews, whose son Rick was a member of
the Albany High varsity lacrosse team this spring. “Our collaborators
all share a vision of growing the game and using lacrosse as a means to
help our communities’ kids attain a successful future.”
Kathy Sheehan joined several community partners in talking about the
partnership at Wednesday’s news conference, including Dr. Wilkins,
Chase, PAL Director Lenny
Ricchiuti, CityLax founder Mat Levine and Scott Marr, coach of the
University at Albany’s nationally recognized men’s lacrosse program.
City of Albany is honored to be selected as the first-ever host city of
the Lacrosse Communities Project,” Sheehan said. “This is truly a
collaborative approach and a great example of entities in the city and
statewide coming together in the best interest of the children in our
Albany County Sheriff Craig D. Apple noted that CityLax’s record of
improving high school graduation rates in New York City over the past
decade is indicative of the potential in Albany program.
The Lacrosse Communities Project plans to expand into Cleveland in
September and Brooklyn later in the fall.
Dr. Wilkins also acknowledged
Albany High senior Laura Bulmer, who US Lacrosse recognized recently as
an Academic All-American. Bulmer, who carries a 97.3 GPA in the
classroom, was a second-team Times Union all-area selection
this spring as a midfielder. She will attend Northeastern University in
"Laura is an outstanding example for your future generations of Albany
High lacrosse players to emulate," Dr. Wilkins said.
The mission of the City School District of
Albany is to educate and prepare all students for
college and career, citizenship and life, in partnership with our
diverse community. The district serves
more than 9,600
students in 17
elementary, middle and high schools. In addition to neighborhood
schools, the district includes several magnet schools and programs, as
well as other innovative academic opportunities for students,
including four themed academies at Albany High