Bridgeport, Conn. – The University of Bridgeport’s women’s lacrosse team has partnered with Hall Neighborhood House (HNH) to bring the sport to the youth of HNH.
Hall Neighborhood House was opened in 1886 by a group of women who wanted to start an organization that would help young migrant families adjust to their new life. The women offered job training and assistance in job placement in the Bridgeport community. In later years HNH opened a nursery and day-care services. In 1957 HNH expanded into what it is today. HNH has grown to serve the Greater Bridgeport-area and is a known leader in community service and engagement. HNH now offers programs in day-care, preschool, social services, youth and senior citizen programs, affordable housing, job training, performing arts, and recreation.
Thanks to a united effort from HNH youth services director Rachel Smith and US Lacrosse, HNH received a soft stick grant. This grant brought 30 soft sticks and balls to HNH.
Smith and Ally Howard, UB’s women’s lacrosse coach, have teamed up to bring the Purple Knights lacrosse team to HNH a few Saturdays a month to teach HNH’s youth the game. According to Smith, “The young people enjoy themselves every time UB comes.”
The interaction between HNH youth and the Purple Knights has had lasting effects on UB’s student-athletes as well. UB senior Meg Hughes stated “Working with these youth has given me a new appreciation for giving back to the community.”
UB lacrosse starts each day at HNH with some name games and bonding time. Next, everyone splits up in two groups, younger and older. Every UB student-athlete pairs up with an HNH participant. UB teaches passing, catching, picking up ground balls, shooting, and running with the lacrosse stick. Smith brings apples for snack time, teaching HNH’s youth healthy alternatives for snack time. Sessions end with gear donations from UB women’s lacrosse and everyone having the chance to win UB athletic gear.
The day ends with hugs and cheers, Smith’s favorite part was “Seeing all of the smiles on our youth faces.” Head Coach Howard commented “Seeing our student-athletes work with HNH’s youth has changed our team for the better. Working with Smith, these children, and our student-athletes has driven our program to seek more opportunities to work with Bridgeport’s underprivileged youth.”
Provided by the Bridgeport Sports Information Department.