Conestoga girls' lacrosse team wins 2016 PASLA Team Service Award
June 20, 2016
From Main Line Media News
The Conestoga High School girls lacrosse team, which finished 24-1 and won the PIAA state championship this spring, made its mark off the field with its community service activities over the course of the year.
The Pennsylvania Area Schoolgirls Lacrosse Association (PASLA) recognized Conestoga’s commitment to community service by awarding the team the 2016 PASLA Team Service Award. The award was presented at the Philadelphia Lacrosse Association’s 3rd Annual High School Awards Banquet June 6 at Riverview Country Club.
The team hit the ground running with its Stoga 5v5 Laxfest in October, which not only raised money for the Pioneer booster club, but generated close to $5,500 in sponsorship proceeds for the Fighting Back Scholarship Program (FBSP) and its Peter Kienzle Fund (http://www.fightingbacksp.org/).
The event featured 20 teams and 160 girls in grades 5 through 9 and included a stick donation drive — a service effort in itself that yielded 25 sticks to support middle school lacrosse in Philadelphia.
The sponsorship proceeds from the 5v5 Laxfest are earmarked to help FBSP and individuals who are recovering from a life-changing illness or injury and are without the financial resources they need to participate in a rehabilitative exercise program.
The team’s effort was recognized publicly on April 27 before 300 banquet attendees at the Fighting Back Scholarship Program’s “Annual Achievement Night.” During the ceremony at the Desmond Hotel, the Kienzle family awarded a year-long scholarship to a deserving young man to help underwrite his continued rehabilitation.
The recipient, Patrick Sweeney, suffered from Ramussen’s Encephalitis, a rare seizure disorder. In 2013, Sweeney underwent a “hemispherectomy” at the Cleveland Clinic. That surgical procedure disabled the right hemisphere of his brain. He remained in the hospital for 74 days and then spent 14 months at Bryn Mawr Rehab.
While the operation cured Sweeney’s seizures, it left him with motor deficiencies and other physical challenges that he is constrained to battle with physical therapy every day. The scholarship from the Kienzle Fund, made possible by proceeds from the team’s youth lacrosse festival, will help Sweeney with his recovery.
The team was proud to honor the memory of Pete Kienzle, a beloved member of the Conestoga lacrosse community who died of cancer on Christmas Day in 2015 after a prolonged and courageous battle. The Conestoga girls lacrosse team will continue supporting the FBSP mission in his name.
Inspired by the success of the Laxfest, the team established its “Give an Assist” program and selected three other charities to support with community service efforts during the remainder of the year.
In January, the team gathered to help the Cradles to Crayons program, sorting and assembling gender and size-specific “Outfit Packs” to be used to clothe children who are relocated from their home in any number of emergency situations. The team assembled over 70 of these packs to support the work of Cradles to Crayons.
In February, the team got “crafty” and made over 170 homemade craft items to help Meals on Wheels serve elderly citizens in the Tredyffrin-Easttown area. Meals on Wheels used the crafts to bring joy to local homebound seniors over Valentine’s Day.
The team’s most recent community service effort involved supporting TE Care, a local charity that provides assistance to underserved families in need. The girls organized and conducted a clothes donation drive at Conestoga and beyond to help TE Care prepare for its 3rd Annual Kids Clothing Grab Bag event in April. As a group, the team collected and sorted over 150 large trash bags full of donated children’s clothing to support TE Care’s activities.