Founded in 2008, in Harlem’s Frederick Douglass Academy, Harlem Lacrosse was the brainchild of a special education math teacher, Simon Cataldo, who struggled as an educator in his first year. Desperate to connect, Cataldo introduced the historically white and elite sport of lacrosse to “engage his most academically and behaviorally challenged students.”
And it worked. Now in its eighth year, Harlem Lacrosse operates 11 programs in New York, Baltimore and Boston serving over 450 boys and girls—nearly one-third of whom are in Special Education.
The program says it actively recruits special education students and students identified by school administrators as most vulnerable to academic decline and school dropout. More than 90 percent identify as Black, Hispanic or multi-racial; 45 percent speak a language other than English at home and 96 percent qualify for free or reduced lunch.
Since 2011, Harlem Lacrosse students have maintained a 100 percent on-time middle school graduation rate, and have earned over $15 million scholarship offers to private schools and colleges. But most uniquely, the program is split about 50/50 between boys and girls.
— The Players’ Tribune (@PlayersTribune) October 10, 2016
Recently, The Players Tribune followed the all-girls team from P.S. 149, the Sojourner Truth Tigers, for the entire 2015-2016 season. We hear from the pre-teens on why lacrosse is important to them:
“When I first saw lacrosse, I thought it was only for boys, but it looked pretty cool.” — Karmen, 12
“If I wasn’t playing lacrosse … I’d be bored out of my mind or causing trouble.” — Shannen, 12
“Lacrosse helped me gain confidence. I go places I’ve never been before. I seen the White house, I didn’t see Obama, though. That’d be a dream come true.” — Kiera, 12
The program says it has plans to expand to Philadelphia in 2017.
See the Sojourner Truth Tigers’ over the last year and read their words here.
SOURCE: The Players Tribune, Twitter, YouTube | PHOTO: Getty
FLOTUS Then & Now: Michelle Obama Looks Better Than Ever!
1. Michelle Obama in 2008Source:Getty 1 of 20
2. Michelle Obama in 2008Source:Getty 2 of 20
3. Michelle Obama in 2009Source:Getty 3 of 20
4. Michelle Obama in 2009Source:Getty 4 of 20
5. Michelle Obama in 2009Source:Getty 5 of 20
6. Michelle Obama in 2009Source:Getty 6 of 20
7. Michelle Obama in 2009Source:Getty 7 of 20
8. Michelle Obama in 2010Source:Getty 8 of 20
9. Michelle Obama in 2010Source:Getty 9 of 20
10. Michelle Obama in 2010Source:Getty 10 of 20
11. Michelle Obama in 2011Source:Getty 11 of 20
12. Michelle Obama in 2011Source:Getty 12 of 20
13. Michelle Obama in 2011Source:Getty 13 of 20
14. Michelle Obama in 2013Source:Getty 14 of 20
15. Michelle Obama in 2014Source:Getty 15 of 20
16. Michelle Obama in 2014Source:Getty 16 of 20
17. Michelle Obama in 2015Source:Getty 17 of 20
18. Michelle Obama in 2016Source:Getty 18 of 20
19. Michelle Obama in 2016Source:Getty 19 of 20
20. Michelle Obama in 2016Source:Getty 20 of 20
Lacrosse Comes to Harlem As A Beacon For Pre-Teen Girls was originally published on newsone.com