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L.E.A.P.S. celebrates one-year anniversary of building lax in inner-city with celebration benefit in Gladwyne

Friday, 16th October 2009

Categories Boy's/Men's, Girl's/Women's, Posted 10/16/09

L.E.A.P.S., a non-profit organization created to help develop lacrosse programs in the inner-city and under-served areas of the Philadelphia region, is holding its one-year anniversary celebration to recognize a year of significant growth and impact for many youths.

The event will be held Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Gladwyne VFW at Waverly and River roads. Guests will be served dinner and provided entertainment from the popular “Class Action” band. The cost is $100 per person or $180 per couple in advance and $120 person or $200 for a couple at the doors.

All proceeds benefit L.E.A.P.S., which stands for Lacrosse, Education, Attitude, Perseverance and Success. The program is run by John Christmas and Eric Gregg, both Philadelphia-area natives who have played professionally in the city and currently coach lacrosse in the city.

Those interested in attending the event should RSVP Gregg at or by calling (215) 951-0330, ext 2190, by Oct. 31. Donations also can be submitted online at (Click on the donate icon.)

In its first year of operation, L.E.A.P.S. has expanded its partnership with the School District of Philadelphia (SDP). Christmas and Gregg have visited thousands of students in assemblies, Physical Education classes and after-school settings to spread a positive message about lacrosse and education.

Using its partnership agreement with Boathouse Sports, L.E.A.P.S. has made new uniforms accessible to the Thomas FitzSimons High, the first public high school boys’ lacrosse team in Philadelphia.

L.E.A.P.S. also provided professional development to the PE teachers on in-service days, assisted teachers in the classroom with their lacrosse lessons, consulting with the SDP on the creation of its PE lacrosse “kits” and working on creating a PE lacrosse curriculum for SDP use.

“We have pledged to help them grow the sport at both the middle and high school levels,” Gregg said, noting that L.E.A.P.S. also is helping build the middle school program, which includes more than 10 schools.

L.E.A.P.S. serves the community in other ways, by providing lacrosse training to under served areas, or areas where lacrosse resources are slim.  Training sessions are facilitated by Christmas and Gregg as well as many volunteers. Other ways L.E.A.P.S. has provided programs are through  weekly skills instruction and mentoring programs.

L.E.A.P.S. also provides equipment, balls and goals to recreation centers, youth sports organizations, and special interest groups. Partners in the development of programs inclide The Overbrook Monarchs Athletic Association and Project H.O.M.E., in North Philadelphia.

These weekly sessions lead to the forming of teams.  For these newly founded teams, L.E.A.P.S. created a community based lacrosse league called the Philadelphia United Lacrosse League (PULL) –  which fielded 3 teams this past spring (South Philly, Overbrook, and Germantown).  The teams scrimmaged against several SEPYLA teams in the spring and L.E.A.P.S. seeks to grow PULL from 3 to 6 teams in 2010.

L.E.A.P.S. is also piloting a Winter Academy program, which is set to start in December.  The Winter Academy will be held indoors and consist of academic assistance, nutrition education, and of course, lacrosse instruction.

Details are still being worked out.  Participants will have to apply to take part and will be provided with transportation, full equipment, a healthy snack, and professional nutrition and academic counselors.  The target population for this program include under privileged youths in grades 1 through 8.


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