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The Boston Globe OnlineBoston.com
Boston Globe Online / Giving

  
(Globe Staff Photo / John Blanding)

MetroLacrosse gives Kelsey Vasques, 9, lessons on teamwork and community service, and motivates her to realize her full potential both on and off the playing field.

L ast year I was getting some Cs, but now Im getting As and Bs. I think MetroLacrosse is a good thing in our community because we really needed it.

East Boston resident Kelsey Vasques is only 9 years old, but she has the motivation of a young lady destined for success. Disappointed with the few activities her community offers for kids and the negative attention teens get in the media, Kelsey and her family decided she would avoid the pitfalls of growing up in the inner city.

There is so much bad in the world, says Robin Cole, Kelseys mother. There is so much fighting in schools and things kids get into, and I dont want Kelsey to be a part of that.

Cole, who lived in a poor section of Mission Hill more than 10 years ago, has dismal memories of gunshots ringing out in the night and police sirens, and a frightening memory of a 5-year-old killed on the streets by a stray bullet.

I had to get out of there, she says. I left before Kelsey was born.

Though their new neighborhood is much better, Cole says it is her mission as a mother to instill as many positive values in her youngest daughter as she can before outside factors begin weighing in on her growth.

Enter MetroLacrosse.

MetroLacrosse was created in 1997 to help urban communities provide healthy activities for their youth. Through the sport of lacrosse coupled with education programs, the organiza- tion offers at-risk youth lessons on community service and motivates them to realize their full potential both on and off the playing field.

I really like it, says Kelsey. It teaches a lot about teamwork, and history, and our communities.

In a few months, says Cole, Kelsey will be volunteering at a center for the elderly and taking part in a neighborhood cleanup project with MetroLacrosse. Not only has the fourth-grader made the honor roll, she's very active in other after-school activities.

Im really proud of Kelsey. Shes learning how to be an all-around good person, says Cole. She knows her community and shes learning how to go out there and get involved.

Megan Tench

This story ran on page F7 of the Boston Globe on 11/18/2001.
© Copyright 2001 Globe Newspaper Company.