The western & southern neighborhoods of Chicago have a considerable amount of crime & poverty. For example, almost 40% of the residents of East Garfield Park, a neighborhood on the west side, are under the poverty line compared to the national average of 15%.
Children suffer the most in these neighborhoods. They become, by definition, at-risk youth.
An at-risk youth is a child who, by virtue of their circumstances, is statistically more likely than others to fail academically. Those determining the criteria of at-risk status often focus on ethnic minorities, those who are academically disadvantaged, those
who are disabled, those who are characterized by low socioeconomic status, and students on a probationary status over past behavioral issues.
I’m Sam Angelotta, the founder of OWLS (Outreach with Lacrosse & Schools). Lacrosse profoundly impacted my life. I now teach at St. Malachy, an elementary school on the west side of Chicago, where most of the students
are at-risk youth. Based on my experience with lacrosse, I wanted to create a program that would have the same positive impact on at-risk youth.
I had a vision, but no experience establishing and managing a not-for-profit program. The strength of my vision attracted talented, like-minded men and women from the lacrosse community who shared my vision. They have joined me as board members or volunteers
and have helped me build an itegrated lacrosse program and a robust governance that provides a sustainable foundation upon which to grow the program.
Why OWLS Lacrosse
We've impacted the lives of over 500 at-risk Chicago-area girls and boys by introducing them to the sport of lacrosse. We don't just teach them how to play lacrosse; we use lacrosse to increase positive social opportunities for low-income,
at-risk youth by providing a setting that builds personal character, including integrity, responsibility, honesty, fairness, and respect for others. The program works.
Our success has caused educators, administrators and community leaders in other at-risk Chicago neighborhoods to ask us to start and run programs for them. We need $10,000 to meet this demand.