Changing Lives, One Ground Ball at a Time
No Place for Hate, CityLax Stands United!
March 23, 2020
Dear CityLax Community:
Along with many people across the country and the world, the CityLax team has been outraged by the Atlanta shootings and dismayed by the acts of violence against our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander neighbors. CityLax denounces bigotry and stands in solidarity with these communities. These events, coupled with the socioeconomic disparities the Covid-19 pandemic have exposed, have awakened our collective consciousness to the systemic racism and inequities that exist in our society. These events reaffirm the necessity for CityLax to go further by increasing our efforts to help ensure our diverse population of urban student-athletes are supported and have the opportunity to excel in the classroom and on the lacrosse field.
What CityLax can do right now is what we do best and what we have done for over 15 years: invest in underserved New York City schools and their student-athletes to give them a better chance to succeed in life. Of immediate priority is to provide them with tools to understand and discuss the impact of the debates addressing systemic racism and injustice for Asian Americans and all people of color. We will continue to hold live panel discussions featuring diverse college, post-college, and professional players of color. Through these discussions, we bring greater awareness of their experiences and a toolbox for high school and college age players to use when confronted with situations in their school or on their teams where racism arises.
CityLax seeks to bring people together. Our "Remembering 9/11" initiative will consist of a series of programs to engage, educate, and unite our communities by recalling and reflecting on the tragic events of 20 years ago. We feel this is a special teachable moment for NYC students to learn about what happened in their city that day, the heroic response, and to bring them together with the current First Responder (NYPD, FDNY, EMT, etc.) community, creating greater harmony and understanding during these divisive times.
CityLax's other major initiative, especially in the context of getting schools re-opened, is adding more resources and programming to our "CityLax off the Field" programming that will provide a greater number of CityLax student-athletes access to critical support in the complex world of gaining access to college opportunities. The goal is to not only facilitate the highest possible college acceptance rate for each senior class of public-school student-athletes, but to better assist them with finding the best array of college opportunities for their individual needs. We remain laser focused on college education as the key way to break the cycle of poverty and inequality that most of the student-athletes come from.
As a youth development organization committed to making the lives of urban kids better and maximizing their chances for success, CityLax stands firm to say there is no place for intolerance or bigotry of any kind, on and off our playing fields. Through growing and honoring the game of lacrosse in urban settings, I ask that we continue to embrace diversity, celebrate our rich cultures and backgrounds, and strive to lift barriers to help us all speak the same language of love and respect.
Yours in lacrosse and good health,
CityLax Announces: Remembering 9/11, A Year Long Tribute, 20 Years Later
January 26, 2021
For Immediate Release
CityLax, a leading Nonprofit in the urban youth development space, humbly announces the launch of "Remembering 9/11", a year-long series of programs to engage, educate, and unite our communities by recalling and reflecting on the tragic events of 20 years ago.
For those adults who lived through the 9/11 events and for young people of today, we will conduct a series of discussions over the next 12 months through the CityLax Virtual Dialogue Platform. A large number of the 2977 lost in the attack on the Trade Center were from the Tri-state area lacrosse community; our CityLax Dialogue sessions will seek to enlighten viewers on the lives of several key members who were outstanding in their professional careers that followed success on the lacrosse field.
Using the powerful collections and media tools at the 9/11 Memorial in Lower Manhattan, CityLax will offer an educational day for CityLax-New York City public school student-athletes to visit the site and museum, escorted and lectured by First Responders and museum personnel. This will be followed by a lacrosse clinic for the students given by NYPD, FDNY, and pro players. Embracing CityLax's standing partnership with the NYPD, the Dialogues and Museum events will be followed by a "9/11 Remembrance Day of Lacrosse", featuring the NYPD vs. FDNY lacrosse teams competing, preceded by a game featuring teams composed of leading New York City public high school players and players from the New York tri-state area.
CityLax Board member Jarett Wait puts the "Remembering 9/11" events in perspective: "There was a moment in time 20 years ago when the country united due to the devastation of 9/11. Today we have a breakdown of trust. We believe we can start to rebuild that trust by connecting New York’s Finest and Bravest with inner city students through the game of lacrosse."
CityLax CEO John Moser added: "With our country currently divided by social justice, the Pandemic, and politics, we are hoping by staging these events to respectfully remember those we lost 20 years ago, it will educate and bring a sense of unity so badly needed for our City and the country to move ahead."
David Pietramala Joins the CityLax Board of Directors!
January 14, 2021
For Immediate Release
CityLax, a leading non-profit in the urban youth development space, proudly announces that David Pietramala is joining its Board of Directors effective immediately. When asked, Pietramala said: “I am both excited and privileged to join the CityLax program as a member of their board. Too often we don’t capitalize on the opportunity to give back. This is a chance for me to be involved with a first class organization that is positively impacting the lives of young people through lacrosse. I look forward to working closely with CityLax as we change lives “one ground ball at a time.’ ”
Coach Pietramala brings to CityLax a unique wealth of lacrosse acumen and success starting with his college playing days at Johns Hopkins (3X All-American, 1989 player of the year, and 1989 National Champion). Equally impressive has been his 23 years as a head coach (3 with Cornell and 19 with Johns Hopkins) where his teams made 18 NCAA tournament appearances, played in 7 Final Fours, and won 2 National Championships. This body of work earned him an induction into the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame (2004).
Coach Pietramala joins the CityLax board at a crucial time. Now in its 15th year developing lacrosse and educational support programs inside the NYC School system (the nation's largest), CityLax is moving ahead with a capital campaign that will support a major expansion of its programming in the middle school space coupled with growing its "off the field" educational support in the areas of individual college counseling and student-athlete mentoring.
CityLax CEO John Moser said: "It is an honor and great pleasure to have David Pietramala join our Board. With his vast passion for and knowledge of the game of lacrosse, we believe David can guide the program and coach development needed for CityLax to be successful in our strategic plan to significantly expand the footprint of lacrosse reaching the underserved in this City."
CityLax Co-Founder Mat Levine added: "This will be a special opportunity to Coach Pietramala engaged with our urban lacrosse mission, connect him directly with the kids, coaches, and schools we serve, and develop ways for him to help us put underserved youth on a successful pathway to college and life."
2021 CityLax Winter Clinics!
We are pleased to announce our Five Borough Winter Clinic Schedule. It's time to SAFELY dust off the 2020 cobwebs and get back to the field and work on our sticks, footwork, cardio and have some fun.
THE 1ST ANNUAL CITYLAX VIRTUAL 5K TURKEY TROT, SO NYC KIDS HAVE A SHOT WAS A SWEEPING SUCCESS THANKS TO YOUR COLLECTIVE PARTICIPATION!
WE RAISED OVER $95,0000 BY 550 RUNNERS, 43 TEAMS AND 1,167 SUPPORTERS!
THESE FUNDS WILL DIRECTLY SUPPORT OUR ABILITY TO SUPPORT OUR STUDENT-ATHELTES ON ANF OFF THE LACROSSE FIELD IN 2021.
IN A VERY CHALLENGING TIME FOR EVERYONE, YOU PROVED THAT MANY FEET MAKES LIGHTER WORK.
THANK YOU AND SEE YOU NEXT FALL!
Breaking Down Walls, One Ground Ball at a Time
In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and many others, there has been an outpouring of black lacrosse players speaking out about racial injustices in this country, as well as personal testimony of racism within the sport of lacrosse. In the interest of standing in solidarity with them and our student athletes in NYC we are holding a series of Zoom panel formatted dialogues with important voices within the black lacrosse community. Engaging in meaningful dialogue is a critical component to taking steps to learning about empathy in the midst of horrific racial injustices, and pathways towards unity, understanding, and shared love of sport.
Jules Heningburg, PLL Star for The Redwoods, published a powerful article in US Lacrosse Magazine with Video (click to read) about his experience as a bi-racial person, and his journey navigating life and lacrosse in a predominantly white sport. It's been his testimony that has catalysed a movement within our sport to come together to listen, learn, and activate towards a more unified community in our sport and world!
Panelists: Jules Heningburg (PLL Redwoods + Rutgers), Brian Silcott (Jamaica), Gerry Byrne (Harvard), Mira Shane (U Michigan), Britt Brown (U Penn) & Chad Toliver (Rutgers).
Panelists: Jules Heningburg, Nigel Andrews (Harvard), Brittany Brown (UPenn), Jonathan Mevs (Maryland), Carter Henry (Yale) and Chad Toliver (Rutgers). Eamon McAnaney (SNY, ESPN) will be our moderator.
CITYLAX BOARD MEMBER BRITT BROWN FEATURED IN "GOALIE TALK" ARTICLE WITH BLAXERS BLOG AND US LACROSSE MAGAZINE!
BLAXERS BLOG: GOALIE TALK WITH BRITT BROWN, MIRA SHANE AND IMANI WEST
THU NOV 5 2020 | BRIAN SIMPKINS | COLLEGE
US Lacrosse Magazine has partnered with Blaxers Blog to produce a series of stories that illuminate the minority lacrosse experience and promote the accomplishments of those individuals who have defied stereotypes to succeed in the sport.
Being a successful goalie takes courage and leadership. Black goaltending representation in women’s lacrosse is a rare sight. Brian Simpkins of Blaxers Blog spoke with a few recent college graduates on their love for the position and what wisdom they want to pass onto others.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the Black goalies who have made an impact on college programs. Each has a unique story and each is looking to stay involved in the sport.
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
Colleges: Virginia (2014-15), Penn (2016-17)
In 2017, Brown was named an IWLCA first team All-Region selection and a second team All-Ivy selection. Also during her senior season, Brown was ranked third nationally in save percentage (.540) and fourth in goals allowed average (8.40). Brown currently serves as a CityLax board member. Brown will join the newly formed Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse league in Summer 2021.
Hometown: Princeton, N.J.
College: Michigan (2016-19)
In 2019, Shane was as a Tewaaraton Award nominee and an IWLCA second team All-Region selection. Before graduating, Shane set Michigan’s all-time goaltending records in victories (24) and save percentage (.451). Shane currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach at Michigan after holding the same position at Harvard last season. Shane will join the newly formed Athletes Unlimited Lacrosse league in Summer 2021.
Hometown: Maplewood, N.J.
College: Longwood (2015-18)
As a team captain in 2018, West set Longwood’s single-season record for ground balls (67) and earned second team All-Big South honors. Also in 2018, West ranked second on Longwood’s all-time list in career saves (451) while ranking fifth nationally in ground balls per game (3.72) and sixth in saves (182). West currently serves as a clinician for the US Lacrosse Sankofa Clinic Series.
CityLax Expands Board of Directors!
In a move that reflects the necessary diversity and inclusion consistent with its Mission, CityLax has named 9 new members to its existing 9- member Board, for a total of 18. The Board's expansion is designed to oversee and lead the organization to meet the challenges of the changing environment in terms of race and economic inequity over the past few months and to scale its programming to help a greater number of inner-city students inside the New York City Public School system and in underserved communities throughout the 5 boroughs and Albany, NY. Established as a public-private partnership with the Department of Education back in 2005, CityLax works with and supports over 70 schools and 2500 students annually with its after school lacrosse programming and with a growing list of "off the field" services in the areas of college advising, test prep, nutrition, technology resources needed in the current virtual learning environment, and a recent series of forums dealing with issues of race and racial tensions. With over 300 high schools and 600 middle schools in an urban education system of over 1.2 million children, 84% who are children of color or ethnicity and 74% described as economically disadvantaged, CityLax is aiming to leverage its current footprint to significantly expand on its Mission that has produced graduation rates of over 95% (5 year average) and college acceptance rates of over 96% (5 year average) among its lacrosse participants at the New York City public high school level.
The difficult and life changing environment of the past few months have shined a light on the continued inequity of their lives and the need to act now. The challenges inner city students face is nothing new to CityLax. CityLax has been working to level the playing field for children for the past 15 years. As CEO John Moser stated “CityLax sees this time as a chance to make significant change in the lives of inner-city students. The inequities they face are here for all to see. The stakes are too high not to answer the call.”
To achieve these goals for inner city students, CEO John Moser announced today a significant increase to the size of the CityLax Board. These key appointees have all been affiliated with CityLax/Docs for many years. The expansion of Board adds key leadership skills and experience to assist CityLax in executing its mission of changing the variables and outcome of CityLax student athletes.
Founder Mat Levine said, “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Dana Reed, Ron Brown, Brittany Brown, Nigel Andrews, Howie Borkan, Brian Reilly, Eamon McAnaney, Pat Coleman and Max Levine as new Board members for CityLax, Inc., the nonprofit co-founded 15 years ago by Gavril Pasternak and myself. Their passion, individual skill-sets in their core professional areas, and intimate knowledge of our history as a non-profit will play a pivotal role in helping CityLax move into the next phase of its mission as an urban youth development organization.”
These new members join a strong and dedicated CityLax Board previously composed of Founder Mat Levine, Jennifer Andrews, Max Seibald, Jarett Wait, Rob Coughlin, Tom Marino, Mike Martell, and CEO John Moser. For more information on the all board members, click here: https://www.citylax.org/about/board-of-directors/
June 9, 2020
Dear CityLax Community:
In concert with many people across the country and the world, the CityLax team has been outraged by the murder of George Floyd as well as countless other racist incidents over many years. These events, coupled with the socioeconomic disparities that the Covid-19 pandemic, have exposed and awakened our collective consciousness to the systemic racism and inequities that exists in our society. These events reaffirm the necessity for CityLax to go further by increasing our efforts to help ensure our student-athletes are supported and have the opportunity to excel in the classroom, on the lacrosse field, and in life.
What CityLax can do right now is what we do best and what we have done for over 14 years: invest in under-served New York City schools and their student-athletes to give them a better chance to succeed in life. Of immediate priority is to provide them with tools to understand and discuss the impact of the debates addressing systemic racism and injustice for African Americans and all people of color.
A major step in this direction will be to hold a series of panel discussions, CityLax Dialogues: Breaking Down Walls One Ground Ball at a Time, featuring current college, post-college, and professional lacrosse players of color. The goal is to provide PSAL/CityLax student-athletes and their coaches an opportunity to "see, hear, and ask" how players of color confronted and dealt with racism in their lives as high school and college student-athletes and now as professional lacrosse players. Through these discussions, the panelists hope to bring greater awareness of their experiences and a toolbox for high school and college age players to use when confronted with situations in their school or on their teams where racism arises.
CityLax's other major initiative, especially in the context of getting schools re-opened, is add more resources and programming to our "CityLax off the Field" programming that will provide a greater number of CityLax/PSAL student-athletes access to critical support in the complex world of the college process, especially in the areas of SAT prep, college list development, preparation of college applications, and connections with college admission departments and their lacrosse coaches. The goal is to not only maintain the highest possible college acceptance rate for each senior class of public-school players, but to better assist each student athlete with finding the best array of college opportunities for their individual needs. We remain laser focused on college education as the key way to break the cycle of poverty and inequality that most of the student-athletes come from.
As a youth development organization that wants to make lives of urban kids better and maximize their chances for success, CityLax stands firm to say there is no place for intolerance or bigotry of any kind, on and off our playing fields. Through growing and honoring the game of lacrosse in urban settings, I ask that we continue to embrace diversity, celebrate our rich cultures and backgrounds, and strive to lift barriers to help us all speak the same language of love and respect.
Yours in lacrosse and good health,
WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER!
Dear CityLax Family,
Amidst the current Covid-19 health crisis, CityLax and our lacrosse family is more commited than ever to stand with our student-athletes! We recognize the unquestionable inconvenience that closure of NYC Schools is having on the lives of our student-athletes and their families. WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS, and would like to think that lacrosse and the life-skills that CityLax teaches will carry us all through this time. With the right attitude, challenges present potential to become opportunities. In this spirit, we offer some food for thought and action during this challenging time:
- CITYLAX COVID-19 FAMILY AND COMMUNITY RESOURCE GUIDE | AVAILABLE HERE!
- Stay Safe! Wash your hands, stay home, and be a helping hand to your parents and siblings.
- Maintain Your Academic Instruction: While you're out of school, be attentive to the demands of your schools on-line curriculum.
- Stay Engaged! Read! Try something new like drawing or writing.
- Improve Your Stick Skills! Whether you are a beginner or a professional player, you can ALWAYS improve your stick skills. When appropriate and keeping your social distance, get out on your own on the wall or with a friend! Here is a link to a wall ball lesson with Kyle Harrison. There are tons of other creative videos on YouTube.
- Stay Positive! This is not a time to hang our heads; our attitudes must be determined yet patient. This time will pass!
Yours In Lacrosse,
Changing Lives, One Ground Ball at a Time
Volunteers Help Our Student-Athletes Succeed
“My favorite CityLax memory is telling a new player at one of our clinics that, yes, she could get a scholarship for playing goalie. To see the relief and excitement on her face when she found out that this was an opportunity for her to get farther in life than maybe was possible before was one of the moments that I’ll always cherish.”
CityLax Volunteer Coach
“One of the really powerful things that I’ve experienced is that the conversations went from being just about lacrosse to now including what they’re going to do after high school. I think that those conversations are more important than lacrosse itself. As volunteers, we get to help grow these student-athletes from being teenagers into adults.”
CityLax Volunteer Coach
“I feel really fortunate that I have been able to be a role model and positive influence in so many girls lives over the years. The most rewarding thing for me is seeing someone through the full four years and how excited they are to say, ‘Coach, I got accepted to these colleges and this is what I’m going to do!’ when I knew them back as a freshman when they were trying to just get their feet beneath them.”