Two years ago, Jacqueline Bartelt’s daughter, Sophia, transferred into Lawrence North High School, one of the two high schools in the Lawrence Township School District in Indianapolis’ northeast suburbs. Much to her disappointment, the school did not have a girls’ lacrosse team.

Rather than accept the status quo, mother and daughter got busy.

Meetings with the school’s administration brought approval to start a club team. Sophia helped to recruit classmates, while Jacqueline explored funding options. Her search eventually led her to US Lacrosse, and the National Diversity Grant Program

Lawrence Township serves a very diverse group of over 16,000 students, including a rapidly growing Hispanic population. US Lacrosse provided a grant to support the start-up program in 2019. 

Due in part to Sophia’s recruiting efforts, 30 girls participated on the inaugural club team last year. The combination team included players from both of the district’s high schools: Lawrence North and Lawrence Central.

“The US Lacrosse grant was really key for us last year because we were able to start building the passion to play among the girls without having them worry about equipment expenses,” Bartelt said. “It was the shot in the arm that we needed to get off the ground.”

Last fall, the school district approved varsity status for girls’ lacrosse, along with the addition of a JV squad. Lacrosse interest has grown quickly among girls in Lawrence Township. This spring, the joint varsity and JV teams will again draw players from both high schools, located about two miles apart. The eventual goal is for Lawrence North and Lawrence Central to each have independent squads.

“Adding lacrosse to the sports roster of our schools provides opportunities to engage kids throughout the year,” Bartelt said. “It’s another spring sport option for girls who don’t play softball or track and field, and it’s also a second sport option for many of our current student-athletes. We want to increase awareness of lacrosse as a viable sports option for girls in both high schools.”

US Lacrosse is currently accepting online applications for its newest cycle of the National Diversity Grant Program, which provides resources to local groups and organizations to support projects and events that promote lacrosse opportunities among non-traditional participants.

Six different grant categories, with slightly differing goals and qualifications, are available: Girls’ Initiative, Urban Outreach, Community Impact, Event Support, Disability Access, and BRIDGE. 

The application and a fuller explanation of each grant are available online

Applications will be accepted through February 3, 2020. 

The community impact grant to Lawrence Township Lacrosse was one of 23 NDGP grants awarded nationally in 2019 by US Lacrosse, with a financial investment of almost $40,000. US Lacrosse’s investment in all diversity initiatives, which also includes the Sankofa Clinic Series and the Urban Lacrosse Alliance, surpassed $300,000 in 2019, with a direct impact to nearly 6,000 participants.

“We’re excited to offer these grant opportunities to assist qualifying organizations across the country in making a greater impact for diversity in our sport,” said Eboni Preston-Laurent, senior manager for diversity and inclusion at US Lacrosse. “Connecting people that are traditionally outside the lacrosse community is a primary focus for our diversity and inclusion efforts.”

National Diversity Grant Program

The National Diversity Grant Program provides funding to qualified organizations that initiate or continue programs that promote lacrosse participation and education.

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