Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership to Bring Lacrosse to PS/MS 149 - The Sojourner Truth School

Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership to Bring Lacrosse to PS/MS 149 - The Sojourner Truth School

NEW YORK, October 4, 2012 -- Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership (HLL), a youth organization that uses lacrosse training and academic intervention to instill leadership skills and social responsibility in students, is proud to announce a new partnership with PS/MS 149 - The Sojourner Truth School, a K through 8th grade public school in Harlem.

"The power of sport can not only connect children to their community, but give them pride in their school that carries over into the classroom," said HLL Program Director Wyatt Melzer, a two-time Academic
All-ACC graduate from the University of Virginia and a member of its 2011 NCAA National Championship lacrosse team. "We are not only training the next generation of Division I collegiate athletes. We are taking kids who will likely be the first in their families to go to a four-year college and getting them dreaming about collegiate athletics and prestigious college campuses the way kids marvel at Lebron James and Dwayne Wade."

The Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership program works with students throughout the school day and on weekends to instill leadership skills and social responsibility in its students. As a 501(c)(3) operating out of the Frederick Douglass Academy I in Harlem, HLL successfully worked with over 60 middle school students in 2011-2012 to boost grades, increase attendance, and improve student behavior.

Joseph Gates, Principal at Frederick Douglass Academy I, said of HLL: “This organization
helps to provide our students with an opportunity to excel at a sport that is rarely associated with
inner city schools. It has helped to broaden minds and expand opportunities that FDA students now use to gain acceptance to elite colleges.”

HLL strategically recruits students who are struggling behaviorally and academically, working closely with teachers, guidance counselors, and school administrators to attract such children to the program. The program boasts an average 6-point GPA increase among its participants in their core classes (with an average 9.5 point increase for special education participants). One hundred percent of HLL student- athletes at Frederick Douglass Academy have graduated on time from middle school to high school over the past four years. Program Directors, who serve as head coaches of the school's lacrosse teams, also provide no-cost secondary school admissions counseling services to students and their families. HLL’s participants have earned $4.7 million in academic scholarship offers and over $40,000 in summer camp scholarships over the past two years. On the field, the FDA team has achieved a 45-20 record playing mostly area private schools.

“We believe in educating the ‘whole’ child,” explained Barbara Darrigo, Principal at PS/MS 149
- The Sojourner Truth School. “We focus not only on the academic growth of our children but on the social-emotional growth, as well. Harlem Lacrosse & Leadership embraces our mission. This program gives our students an opportunity to compete in a sport that may open doors for them and
broaden their horizons. Throughout their travels and experiences, students will build character and a sense of community.”

Visit HLL for more information.
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