By Wayne Witkowski
Jackson Pride Lacrosse Club has given back to the community in more ways beyond instructing the 150 participating boys and girls in third through eighth grades from the township on how to play the game and putting many in a competitive atmosphere.
For the second year, the club “adopted” a family in Jackson Township in need to help brighten their holidays by filling the gift list for the family of four children.
The family picked up gifts Dec. 23 at Oceans of Love, the referral agency in Ocean County dedicated to helping Ocean County children with cancer and their families, which selected the qualifying Jackson family.
The Pride, a nonprofit that started in 2002 as a feeder program for the high school teams at Jackson Memorial High School and for the last 10 years at Jackson Liberty High School, also buys hams and the fixings for Thanksgiving dinners for 10 families in the township.
Funds came from a lacrosse youth clinic held on Monday nights in September and October, with a $35 fee per youngster. The club has a spring program that includes 14 teams that play in the Coastal Lacrosse League, a youth developmental program that schedules games for programs in Ocean and Monmouth counties in April and May.
“I look at the kids in my family and if you can be in a situation where you can give back to the community giving back and getting gifts those kids wanted, it’s what it’s all about,” said club Vice President Sam Barocas, one of six board members headed by President Chris Porazzo elected annually who all heartily endorsed the idea and said they plan to continue their efforts. “When we first started this, we didn’t know of a family in the township [in need], but they’re out there.”
Barocas also is one of 14 volunteer coaches participating in the developmental program and in the clinics in the fall. Volunteers are welcome and can contact Barocas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I enjoy the clinics, giving time for the kids and knowing it’s so important for a family in Jackson,” Barocas said.
Registration for the spring continues. Families can register at www.jacksonlax.org.