WNY Foundation bringing lacrosse to the backyard

Posted at 4:32 PM, Jun 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 17:06:55-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Shane Jordan of Buffalo loves to play lacrosse.

"We look forward to the Spring activity every year," his mother Kim said.

But just like many kids across Western New York, his sports season was taken away.

"It was really disappointing when April came and went," Kim said. "We weren't able to get out on the field."

Because of COVID-19, many spring sports and summer youth programs were canceled. It was a disappointment for many area athletes, so that's why the Western New York Lacrosse Foundation stepped in, helping kids like Shane play the sport they love.

"They can't come to us, let's go to where they are," Foundation Director Chris Mathias said.

The Foundation put out a social media post and also reached out to families who were already signed up with various youth lacrosse leagues that had their seasons canceled. They got a lot of interest and now each week, instructors visit home in at least 12 different communities, bringing the sport to the backyard.

"They're playing lacrosse with our kids in their backyard," lacrosse parent Christian DeFazio said. "You couldn't ask for anything better."

During the hour-long sessions, the instructors play catch, run drills, and give important feedback to improve a player's game.

"We can basically teach the skills kids need to play the game, and let them have fun," Mathias said.

The program is completely free and it's not just beneficial for the student. The instructors are learning just as much.

"They serve as mentors, they give back to the community, and get out and do something themselves," said Mathias.

A program whose goal is to give back, provide support, and bring kids that joy they've been missing.

"We get them outside, we get them exercise, we teach them some new skills which is all great," Mathias said. "But they're getting a little bit of interaction with someone other than their family."

"We really appreciate that the boys are coming out to do this," Kim added. "It means a lot."