On Saturday, April 2, the Maplewood Lacrosse Club hosted Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership for a day of clinics, scrimmages, friendship and dinner.
As described on its website, Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership is “a school-based non-profit organization that provides academic intervention, leadership training, and lacrosse to at-risk youth.” Launched in 2011 at Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem, HLL now has eight programs for boys and girls in New York and Baltimore and is planning to expand to Boston and Philadelphia soon.
HLL’s student athletes have achieved attendance rates and academic scores well above their peers, and HLL has aided its participants in preparing for and securing scholarships to college.
HLL is dependent on partnering schools and communities to generate and cover the expenses for lacrosse events. For example, in hosting HLL, Maplewood Lacrosse raised funds to pay for the bus to take HLL athletes and coaches from Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem to the West Orange Armory — which MLC rented for the day and where the clinic and scrimmages with MLC’s 6th and 8th grade boys teams took place — then to Columbia High School for dinner and home again.
MLC families also donated funds and food to provide the kids with refreshments and snacks throughout the day, as well as pizza, pasta, salad and dessert for dinner later at CHS.
Other partners included Columbia High School Lacrosse Varsity, led by Coach Sean Fitzgerald, which served the MLC and HLL players dinner; Seton Hall Prep Varsity Lacrosse with coaches Dave Giarrusso and Gary Gadek, helping to run the clinic and scrimmages; and Mike Terry, CHS alum and Lacrosse Coach at Newark Academy who gave an inspirational talk at the dinner.
Other sponsors included Mary Vayas of the Maplewood Trattoria, Kicks n Sticks, Universal Lacrosse, Stop and Shop and East Coast Dyes.
The day of service (which began with the MLC boys shaking cans at Maplewood and South Orange locations earlier in the day) follows up on a day of service at Cerebral Palsy of North Jersey Horizon High School in Livingston, organized last year by team parent Howie Teitelbaum. This year, Teitelbaum organized the day with HLL in conjunction with MLC parents Holland Grumieaux and Mike Charvala.
“This is something we hope will become a tradition at MLC,” said Teitelbaum, who called Saturday’s event “a great day of service.”
“It was a perfect day,” said Owen Van Arsdale, Program Director with HLL. FDA Coach Maurice Byfield called the day “awesome” and said that the program would be implementing a number of the training exercises demonstrated at the clinic.
Find out more about Harlem Lacrosse and Leadership here: www.harlemlacrosse.org/about.
Find out more about Maplewood Lacrosse Club here: maplewoodlacrosseclub.com.
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