As we get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving, we’d like to thank the lacrosse community for their generosity in helping to share their love of the sport with the next generation.

Lacrosse can be a powerful vehicle to help children be happy, healthy and successful. But many families can’t afford the initial cost of equipment, so access to the sport remains out of reach for many kids who would benefit from a transformative lacrosse experience.

The US Lacrosse First Stick Program helps to minimize the financial burden for families by providing equipment grants to new leagues and teams, particularly in underserved areas.

Sisters Calyn and Casey Kelly played basketball at Southwest DeKalb High School in Decatur, Ga., just outside of Atlanta, where 98 percent of the population is African-American and 80 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch.

Their coach, Kathleen Richey-Walton, spent years working to add a lacrosse program at the school. Her efforts paid off when Southwest DeKalb received a US Lacrosse First Stick Program grant, which allowed Coach Walton to recruit the Kelly sisters and others to join the team.

“They didn’t have to make an initial investment,” Richey-Walton said. “They could just come on out, pick up a stick and start playing.”

Each Kelly sister went on to receive more than 50 college scholarship offers by the time they graduated. Calyn Kelly became the first player to represent DeKalb County in the Georgia High School Lacrosse All-Star Games. She played collegiately at Reinhardt and then Tusculum. Casey Kelly graduated from Lincoln Memorial this year after compiling a school-record 171 points in her four seasons at the school.

“I could sense from the Kelly parents that they believed this could be an opportunity for their daughters,” Richey-Walton said. “I benefitted greatly from playing lacrosse, and you never know how the next young person will benefit from that same opportunity. The Kelly sisters certainly did.”

Each year, we receive more equipment grant applications from deserving programs than we have resources to support. During this season of thankfulness, we’d like to ask for your support to enable new lacrosse families to share in the benefits and opportunities that our children have experienced through the sport.

Thank you for helping to fuel our mission to extend the reach of lacrosse to every child!

Thank You for Donating to Give Lacrosse

Your gift will give a child the opportunity this spring to “just pick up a stick and start playing.” Lacrosse opens doors to new friendships, lots of fun, dreams for the future and endless opportunities.

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