Girls Learn Lacrosse with SHU Pioneers

News Story: January 1, 2010
SHU senior lacrosse player Jackie Pierce gives instruction during the Girls' Challenge

Students in the Girls’ Challenge program at Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) of Norwalk had a special opportunity to learn lacrosse from champions, thanks to the Pioneers on the women’s lacrosse team at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield.  Girls’ Challenge is an FCA program designed to provide opportunities and support to help middle school girls achieve their full potential for leadership and success.  The Sacred Heart lacrosse team, two-time winners of the Northeast Conference Championship, has developed a relationship with the younger girls that will continue through their upcoming season. 

The project with Girls’ Challenge grew out of the Pioneers’ ongoing volunteer efforts.  Team member Nicole Messina explained, “This year we wanted to become directly involved in working with a group and volunteer more than just the money we typically raise by participating in a cancer walk.  I contacted FCA and we came up with the amazing idea of a college/lacrosse clinic for their Girls’ Challenge program.”

The Girls’ Challenge participants began their experience with a visit to the Sacred Heart campus in early December.   First, they learned the basic skills of lacrosse – throwing, catching and picking up ground balls.  Then the Pioneers led a “chalk talk” to cover some basic game rules and strategies.  They also demonstrated a game, with assistant coaches providing commentary for the younger girls.  Lindsay Carlucci, a Girls’ Challenge participant, said that she really enjoyed the lacrosse exercises and noted, “I had a great time, and I learned how to play lacrosse.”

As part of their visit, the Girls’ Challenge group toured the Sacred Heart campus, starting with the gym and including the main classroom building, the new chapel, a freshman girls dorm and the cafeteria.  Before the girls left, they made plans to keep in touch with the lacrosse team members and attend one of their games in the spring.  Girls’ Challenge participant Daje Bell summarized the visit by saying, “It was fun.  I had a good time talking to some of the girls and eating pizza.  The campus was really nice, too.  I can’t wait to see one of (the girls lacrosse) games in the spring.  They were all really nice.”

Ms. Messina noted, “We really wanted to make a difference in just one life – and I think we did.  Some of the girls were ‘naturals’ at lacrosse and even said that one day they would like to play lacrosse at Sacred Heart!”  She added, “I hope that we can continue working with the Girls’ Challenge group throughout the next few years, because the players had just as much fun as the girls did.”

Family & Children’s Agency (FCA) is a non-profit human service organization meeting the needs of more than 10,000 individuals – including children, adults and families – throughout Fairfield County.  Skilled professionals serve clients in seven impact areas: youth development, family strengthening, foster care, adoption, behavioral health, homeless services, and services for seniors.  For every dollar donated to FCA, 89 cents goes directly to help clients in these program areas.  For more information on FCA programs and services, call Family & Children’s Agency at 203-855-8765.