Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 6/22/20
From US Lacrosse
Each week, US Lacrosse is proud to highlight our Impact Athletes — boys’ and girls’ high school lacrosse players who are supporting their communities with special efforts. We all recognize that these are unusual and unprecedented times, but great challenges also offer great opportunities, and US Lacrosse continues to receive and share some of these inspiring stories.
Gloucester Catholic’s Brandon Madalion – Cherry Hill, N.J.
Lacrosse is one of the most important things in Madalion’s life. He notes that through lacrosse, he has learned that in order to go anywhere in life, you have to work for it. It has also taught him that the hard work and extra time that you put into something will eventually pay off.
In seeking to be the best person that he can be, Madalion has spent a significant amount of time every summer volunteering and giving back to the youth at the Kroc Center in Camden, N.J. He has had the benefit of two caring parents and many strong coaches who have encouraged and supported him in these efforts. Madalion says he volunteers because he wants to be an example and give back to the boys and girls who may not have had the same guidance in life that he has enjoyed.
As a senior at Gloucester Catholic High School, Madalion will be attending Chestnut Hill College in the fall, where he plans on working hard with the goal of becoming an All-American lacrosse player. Academically, he plans on studying business management, with a sports management minor. He would like to eventually pursue a law degree and become a sports agent.
Moorestown’s Avery Jaffe – Moorestown, N.J.
Lacrosse served as a bridge for Avery when her family moved from Florida to New Jersey when she was in seventh grade. Joining South Jersey Select and Moorestown Lacrosse helped her to learn the rules and skills of the game while also making new friends. Jaffe was welcomed right away by the other girls, and the coaches were patient as her skill level slowly grew to match the other players.
As a way of giving back, Avery, now a senior at Moorestown High School, stays involved in her community. This spring, leveraging the reach of social media platforms, she led a virtual 5K for the Headstrong Foundation and helped her team raise over $1,300 toward improving the lives of people with cancer. Avery also designed a #FightCOVID-19 t-shirt to raise money for the Virtual Relief Coronavirus Response Fund in Voorhees, N.J. Money raised from selling the shirts goes directly towards providing nutritious food to vulnerable patients and their families.
This past December, Avery took part in a mission trip to Israel to teach lacrosse to kids in orphanages and underserved areas. As part of that trip, she started an equipment drive in her neighborhood. She packed the donated equipment into several duffel bags and took them to Israel, distributing them during the clinics that Avery and her teammates hosted.
“I will never forget the pure happiness that the children felt as they played for the first time,” she said. “It is very important to remember people not only in time of crisis but to do so when people are not expecting it and when others are not watching. You will always bring people together when you help and this is what I try to do.”
Jaffe says that her participation in the sport of lacrosse has helped to teach her the value of teamwork, persistence, leadership, responsibility, and compassion. She hopes that these lessons will help to guide her as she moves to the next chapter of her life in the fall, playing collegiately at the University of Maryland while majoring in STEM studies.