Thanks to all for you clothing drive donations. Our friends in Harlem were happy to receive some great new items! Couldn't do it without you! :-)
Congratulations to our friend Rosie from Cape Town South Africa (see post below)! She was named a Top 10 CNN Hero of 2017. Working with you was one of our most meaningful experiences!
On Saturday December 2, 2017, Six Together visited the Frederick Douglass Academy in Harlem.
We had the opportunity to spend the day with members of the girls lacrosse team. We made a delivery of lacrosse equipment and hosted a clinic where we practiced shooting, dodging and ground balls. Jack and Matt from Stix Together also joined the fun, as did our friend Rylie Fisher. We shared stories about school, sports and math class. A few of the girls have aspirations of becoming engineers! It was such a great day and we have been invited back. A special thanks to our corporate donor L+M Development Partners who set us up with these great girls and to Harlem Coach Natasha who made all of this possible. Her impact at this school is immeasurable.
Wishing everyone a great holiday season!
A big thank you to our donors! This was our biggest haul yet...we have a garage full of lacrosse equipment and we will be making a local donation later this year. Details to follow!
Evan and Regan
On February 17th my family and I had the pleasure of spending the morning at the Altos del Roble School in Costa Rica. There were 42 kids from K-6th grade. With the help of Crescendo Juntas we were able to find out that they were in need of school supplies and a new classroom. Thanks to our donors, we were able to present them with a check which would allow them to achieve their goals. When we arrived, we began with a prayer and then I had the opportunity to "student teach" for a bit. I used my Spanish to ask the children questions about their families and about activities they enjoyed in their free time.They asked me a lot of questions too! We played a few local games and we even dressed up in traditional Costa Rican costumes and danced. Evan and I also brought them lacrosse sticks and we introduced the sport to all the kids. They were not at all shy and they took to the game very quickly. Thank you to our donors, Crescendo Juntas, the Principal Ms. Margo, and all the students.
On February 16, 2015, Stix Together made a delivery to Escuela Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste Costa Rica. It is a great school lead by an enthusiastic and welcoming principal. The school is attended by children in grades 1-6. There is one shared classroom and the principal also serves as the teacher. Prior to the visit, Stix Together sold some used lacrosse equipment to raise funds for the school. We were grateful to be able to make a monetary donation to go toward teacher training and other school improvements. We also brought along school supplies and lacrosse sticks for the students. The kids were unfamiliar with lacrosse and were eager to head out to the courtyard to try out their new sticks. The younger kids had their own ideas about how to use their new "tools." They poked, they dug and they scooped debris out of a pick up truck. They batted balls and then held them on the ground as they spun like whirling dervishes. They fetched a frisbee out of a tree and chased away a cat. They balanced the sticks on their faces and then on their shoelaces. I decided there was nothing I could show them that they wouldn't eventually discover themselves. The youthful trait of divergent thinking is not learned, but is often unlearned as we age. There would be no growing up today and that lesson was their gift to me.
Stix Together would like to thank Henry Schein Cares, the corporate social responsibility program of Henry Schein, Inc., for its in-kind donation of 72 dental kits. Each kit included a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss, as well as dental fluoride. The kits were distributed at Baphumelele Orphanage in Cape Town's Khayelitsa township. Henry Schein, a Fortune 500® company and a member of the Nasdaq 100®, is a worldwide distributor of healthcare products and services and is headquartered in Melville, NY.
Additionally, Stix Together received donations of lacrosse sticks from Lacrosse Unlimited which were also distributed to the children at Baphumelele Orphanage in Cape Town's Khayelitsa township. None of the children had ever held a lacrosse stick prior to receiving the donations. Lacrosse Unlimited is the #1 lacrosse equipment distributor in the United States and is headquartered in Hauppauge, NY.
On December 31, 2014, Stix Together visited the township of Khayelitsha. We brought school supplies, dental kits, clothing and lax sticks. The kids came running when they saw the sticks. One boy asked if it was tennis! We conducted a lacrosse clinic and some of the kids were really good right from the start. I even showed one boy how to do a behind the back shot. If South Africa ever gets a national lacrosse team and you see them doing behind the back shots...that's all me! :-)
I was telling a group of teen girls that I was from Long Island. No one had heard of it. When I mentioned it was in New York, only one girl said she knew where that was. I thought that was interesting. It gave me a new perspective on things. It was humbling and only fair since I had never heard of Khayelitsha (even though it has 10x as many people as my town).!
Thanks to our cousins, Jack and Matt, who helped us put on an awesome lacrosse clinic. It was a great way to spend the last day of 2014 and we are grateful!
Jordan Raeburn has joined Stix Together as The Director of Communications. Jordan is an upstanding citizen (we checked), a 2 sport athlete, an excellent parallel parker (we didn't check) and a great communicator. When he is not hustling people for Stix Together donations, he can be found watching The Blacklist and plotting his next move.
Many people believe The Cape of Good Hope is the southernmost point on the African continent. A national park has been built around it and cars, bikes and pedestrians line up to enter. There's a sign...you may have seen it; people line up to get their picture taken. It's a lot of fun, a beautiful spot and a bucket list type of excursion. Quietly existing 90 miles to the southeast of The Cape of Good Hope is a lesser known point called Cape Agulhus. It is in fact the southernmost point in Africa. Most people will never see it; there's no fanfare, no lines. The 2 great oceans meet while photo flashes go off 90 miles away. It got me thinking that sometimes people are happy to believe what they have heard to be true. There's no going the extra mile (or 90). If you take South Africa at face value, you know that apartheid has been extinguished. That's a wonderful thing and in fact true to a great extent and we should all rejoice in that. We decided to dig a little deeper. Against the advice of others, we decided to visit a township to see what South Africa really looks like 20 years post-apartheid. In the Cape Flats section of Cape Town about 20 miles from the center, lies Khayelitsha, population 400,000.
Three quarters of the residents in Khayelitsha live in tin shacks without plumbing and the HIV rate is reported to be 40%. The racial makeup is 100% black. On December 31, 2014 Stix Together had the opportunity to visit a Khayelitsha orphanage called Baphumelele. In 1989, Rosalia Mashale began taking in neglected and abandoned children and today she has over 200 children in her care. We were able to spend the day with Rosie and the children and we brought school supplies, clothing, dental kits and lacrosse sticks. We had a great time getting to know these kids and they took to lacrosse right away. Thankfully, Rosie represents people in this world who are willing to go the extra mile and do the work that needs to be done. Seeing is believing.
Thanks to Rosie, the children of Baphumelele, our corporate donors and our friends. A special thanks to our cousins Jack and Matt, who at 10 and 9 years old solicited donations and visited Baphumelele with us. They have joined the Stix Together family and we couldn't be happier!
-Evan and Regan
On August 24, 2014, my family and I had the chance to visit the Senang Hati Foundation in Bali, Indonesia. The Foundation operates as a nonprofit and provides a home for disabled people from the area. According to the Foundation's website, "In many parts of Indonesia, and certainly in Hindu Bali, having a disabled child is evidence of bad karma. Many people believe that the child is being punished and a "bad" spirit of a deceased ancestor has been reincarnated in the child." Unfortunately, this belief causes many disabled people to be ostracized. Senang Hati provides shelter, food, recreation, and socialization for people in need.
While still at home, my sister and I did some research an discovered that the Foundation could use some supplies. We contacted the Chairwoman, Putu, and made the arrangements to spend some time there while visiting Southeast Asia. We shopped for clothing and gathered some of our lacrosse sticks and headed 10,000 miles to Bali. Regan and I loved teaching the kids to play catch with the sticks. It brought smiles to everyone's faces! It was great to meet such nice people. It was the highlight of our trip.
As far as I could see, bad karma would have a tough time taking hold in this place. As the sun set over the rice fields at Senang Hati, I could feel good karma all around us!
Tat Tvam Asi
On August 24, 2014 we had the opportunity to visit The Senang Hati Foundation in Gianyar Bali Indonesia. It is a non-profit organization for disabled people living on the island of Bali. It a place where disabled people can live, take classes and socialize. While doing some research, my brother Evan and I discovered that they were in need of some important items. Some of the items included clothing, bedding, cutlery, equipment for activities, and a pig. Since we figured we couldn't get a pig on a plane, we decided to bring clothing and some lacrosse sticks. We were so warmly greeted by the residents. They ran down to the street as we arrived! They were so happy to get the new clothes and they quickly picked their favorite items. Flip flops were a hit! They loved the lax equipment. They had never heard the word "lacrosse" and they kept calling it "motocross." Evan and I showed them how to play catch with the sticks and they had so much fun.
We learned a lot about the Balinese and Hindu culture during our time there. The Hindu people believe in reincarnation and they believe that good deeds in this lifetime produce good karma which helps in your next life. I wish them many happy lifetimes!
On February 18, 2014, we visited Francisco Javier Mina Escuela Primaria in Punta de Mita Mexico. We delivered schools supplies and lax equipment to the boys and girls. They danced and sang for us and we were even treated to a reading of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax in Spanish. Luckily I already knew the story because my Spanish is not THAT good! One little boy wanted so badly to come back to NY with us. I tried to discourage him by telling him it was too cold and he just kept shouting "¡No importante!" He was also obsessed with trying to talk to me about a big happening on Mexican TV the night before. The translator kept trying to explain to him that I'm not familiar with Mexican TV, but he wouldn't hear of it! lol He was the best! The kids played lax in the field and shared their lunch with us. They had nachos with cheese and hot dogs with cheese. Sounds good to me! The gave us decorated lollipops with the letters TQM. I was told that means, Te quiero mucho," which translates to "I love you very much." It's a Valentine's Day sentiment. In Mexico, Valentine's Day is for celebrating friendships. We loved our time at the school. The kids were so great! Thanks to all our donors! Muchas gracias!
On February 18, 2014, Stix Together visited the Francisco Javier Mina Escuela Primaria in Punta de Mita Mexico. We delivered suitcases full of school supplies and lacrosse equipment. The kids were so great and they performed a song and dance routine for us. They were very energetic. One little guy was practically jumping out of his shoes! After the performance, we handed out the supplies and equipment and headed to the yard for some lax skills. Not one student had ever heard of the sport. They could not wait to get their hands on the sticks. They were actually very fast learners. They had a lot of success throwing and catching. There was even a 2 years old there who got in on the action. Special thanks to Jennifer at Charity Begins (charitybegins.org) who worked with us to find Sergio and Minerva at Fundaćion Punta de Mita. Jennifer's charity connects travelers with a need and Fundaćion Punta de Mita works on environmental and social issues in the Punta de Mita community. Both of these organizations are dedicated to improving the lives of those in need. Since returning from the trip, we have used social media to get the word out about the need in Punta de Mita. We posted on travel websites and encouraged people heading to Punta de Mita to contact Sergio and Minerva. We have received no less than 10 responses from all over the country from people with plans to travel to the area. One woman commented, "My husband, teenage daughters and I are going to Punta de Mita in a few weeks. I have a garage full of lacrosse equipment and I'd be happy to get schools supplies too." Our goal at Stix Together is to not only do what we can to help, but to empower others to do the same. Pass it on!
On January 16, 2014 I had the pleasure of visiting PS/MS 149 in Harlem. The Senior Program Director, Wyatt Melzer, is a UVA graduate whose dedication to these kids is evident. The lacrosse program is a very motivating factor in the school and students earn equipment through good study habits and good behaviors. It's known among students and staff that kids with the coveted UVA gloves do well in school!! This Middle School once had an rating of F. Through the hard work of students and administration and with the lacrosse program serving as a tailwind, the school moved up to a B rating. I was able to spend some time with the players, unloading equipment and seeing their field. They were very appreciative for the donations and were excited to see a long pole! I also had the opportunity to meet the school's principal as well as the girls' lacrosse coach. The program for girls is just getting started and Stix Together looks forward to donating to them in the future. The school's full name is PS/MS 149 The Sojourner Truth Middle School. I decided to look into Sojourner Truth's struggle and I found this quote I liked. She said, "Let individuals make the most of what God has given them, have their neighbors do the same, and then do all they can to serve each other." It was my pleasure to be a very small part of lacrosse in Harlem and to help other kids who are essentially my neighbors. These players have heart and the world should expect big things from them.
Thanks again to our donors! I can only begin to tell you the difference your equipment makes!